tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN September 6, 2013 2:00pm-8:01pm EDT
unexpected happens is one of your skill sets in the military. maryland, you are on. caller: if old, cannot get his buddy cameron in britain on his side, why should we believe obama's excuse for war with syria? guest: i an not certain that the source of the reluctance to vote had so much to do with the proof as it did the overall principle that the u.k. does not want to get committed into another war in the middle east. they were alongside us in iraq, one of the few countries. they stayed with esther most of the conflict. they stayed in afghanistan for over a decade. they are very close ally, but i think the parliament's reaction was more along the lines of we have done enough and we do not see the benefit of this .articular conflict
sometimes difficult to have allies in the sense of planning? they are extremely difficult sometimes. going back to world war ii, the only thing worse than fighting a war with allies is fighting one without one. it has been sobering to see how few of our allies are stepping forward to help the united states think through what is next. the british have opted out of striking. but president obama is taking the same approach that they've it cameron did, and he is going to his legislature, going to the congress of the united states to get support. when david cameron did that, it failed. he said i would not strike as a result of that. the president will spend a lot of time over the next 10 days to get the support. he is reaching out to the american people to make sure he
has the support of the american people before he does this. host: tony, democrat, good morning. taking myank you for call. the first thing i have to say is they say the meaning of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results. .e have heard this before we saw this movie before. close your eyes and think back to how we got into war before. it is the same thing. you make it so drastic, so dire. yet, there are the people who want to go to war. that is not what we elected president obama for. .e has to find another way we voted him in two thing. he has to think of another way other than taking us into war.
once you stick your nose in, you are in. your last speaker said the other countries do not want to get involved. why can't we have the might to say this is not our fight? why can't we stick our nose out of it for once? host: i think we got the point. guest: this is where the president stakes his credibility on responding to a serious syrian chemical attack. he put a red line out that said the united states would react if it were to occur. now it has occurred. that makes this more complicated than some of the other decisions to go to war. a very different set of circumstances in 2003. that will be the tough issue the congress has to wrestle with.
host: have we been able to define who our friends and who our enemies are within syria at this point? some of the rebel fighters? guest: in a traditional campaign, we would have an advocate on one side who supported our interests and had a reasonable amount of consistency with our democratic values that we had some belief in. it would be a regime that we would have an association with and would be democratically inclined. the syrian rebels are a mishmash of different groups. that have the callers that pointed out the executions that some of the rebels have done that have been on the front page of american newspapers. also the syrian opposition. this would be the group we would
be supporting to help topple assad. there is a sworn and group that supports the head of al qaeda and his objectives. we are in a difficult position. the regime has done terrible things but the opposition is doing some terrible things, as well. host: john from los angeles. caller: hello. i have a couple of points to make. in the art of war, there is one disaster is a long conflict. to be in such a long conflict in the past 10 years, that has been detrimental to our military capabilities. today there was a christian
village that was bombed and attacked by the strongest al qaeda force, the opposition to assad. what the facts show, al qaeda is the strongest force. any help that we would give would be going to them. why would we help terrorists? we need to stay out of it. guest: it circles back to the question we just spoke about. the opposition groups we would be supporting are not groups we have a lot of confidence in in terms of their human rights values. some of the strongest groups are the most extreme. at least one of those is an al qaeda affiliate. we have a choice between several bad options in supporting those elements.
host: we have a tweet about breaking news. i do not know the source of the story. indication on impending war? guest: we will see. the u.s. has significant diplomatic presence in lebanon. this may be a one-off. i would look for a trend before i jump to any conclusions. host: this is an e-mail from lori in indianapolis. guest: a huge number of issues attacking the president of another country.
the united states is bound by international law to not do such things. we are going to have to look at that carefully. to find assad would be difficult enough. a strike that was intended to assassinate or remove the head of another state that we are not at war with would be a difficult threshold for the united states to cross. host: ronald, arlington, virginia. you are on "washington journal." caller: good morning. i feel when you first started talking about the pros and cons, i believe you glossed over the cons a little bit. you did have an opportunity to talk about it. i want to ask a couple of pointed questions.
what would the second, third order of sex be? would you accept the risk to punish this regime? what is the consequences? if we didn't know chemical weapons were being moved in large quantities, how would we know they wouldn't be overrun by a terrorist organization? what about hezbollah and sabotage? we cannot be worried that syria is going to attack us. what is the second or third order of facts? that is the most important thing. guest: great question. the downside risk of this attack are very significant. that is one reason why we're having this great debate. the president put this to the
congress for a vote. you could easily see this begin to expand into a wider regional war. we could see american interests attacked in iraq. we could see hezbollah begin to attack american or israeli interests in other parts of the region. we could see a greater refugee flows go into the neighbors as a result of conditions worsening. we could also see the united states would be prompted to do another strike, yet another strike to escalate the american presence to try to have some results that are favorable to the united states. that will make this an important debate for americans in this country.
host: are there comparisons to iraq, to kosovo, to libya? guest: i am reluctant to draw too many comparisons. there are parts of wars that resemble each other. there are some significant differences. i am worried that success we have with the libya campaign a couple of years ago which involved us using air power. the rebel forces helped to overrun the regime. i think that has put a flavor in this debate that is probably excessively optimistic in terms of what could happen to syria. syria has a tougher military than libya. i do not think the same kind of quick results to be achieved.
host: john from new jersey sent in this e-mail. guest: i did not serve in iraq. i have many friends that did. iraq is still in the midst of some internal bloodshed. it is probably best for the united states if we do not have 10,000 american troops in the middle of that. the u.s. continues to advance its interests through its embassy in baghdad. they have now fallen back into greater bloodshed, which i think is tragic for them. host: just to follow up on that,
we have this tweet. guest: i think that is a great question. there are indications that it will. it will not look like the jeffersonian democracy we have in this country. i think there is a better than even chance that that is going to survive. host: next call comes from jesse in new york, democrat. we are listening. caller: hello. here is my question. are they worried that maybe the strike in syria might cause russia to want to now react? what if they find this as disrespectful? they are telling us they do not want us to attack or to do anything. why don't we stay out of it? if him and obama are so eager to
fight this war, why don't they fight themselves? host: we got the point. thank you. guest: all the military targets around the country and the middle east are laying out there mean points of impact and putting their target crosshairs on the military targets in syria. this is moving forward to be a bigger battle that we thought it was even two or three weeks ago. how do we respond? this is a fight for the survival of the assad regime. he will pull out all of the stops in order to stay in power. russia will be a part of that. i know the president is speaking with president putin right now.
i think they will continue to support syria. host: we have an e-mail from frank. guest: that is a great military question. we have the ability to launch standoff missiles from well offshore by our aircraft that will fly into syrian strike targets. they have hundreds of miles in a range. we never have to go over syrian airspace to launch those missiles. if a campaign gets big enough, you have to do a longer term campaign, you have to have aircraft over the targets.
host: gene on the republican line. caller: good morning. i want to thank general barno for his years of service and thanks to c-span. i have a couple of questions. can you tell the audience the size of the capability of the russian and the chinese fleets that may be in the area or where the destroyers are? that is one question. i'll always see two rows of ribbons on his chest. it doesn't look like he has set a lot of military experience, battle experience. what do you know about him and is he qualified to have that
post? thank you. host: are you retired military? caller: i am ex-military. guest: great questions. i know general dempsey very well. he only wears two rows of ribbons by choice. he has had several tours in iraq, fighting on the ground as an army general officer. you see all the other generals wearing five or six or seven he has allbbons. close. he chooses to only wear two of them. he is sending a signal about appearances and about his young soldiers who don't have 10. rows of ribbons he has as much experience and more than many. the chinese do not have any fleet capability in the
mediterranean. they have a limited number of assets in the arabian sea. they are very modest and single ship operations. the russians are moving some ships into the mediterranean. their presence when not be as substantial as the u.s. presence. they are interested and are starting to play a role. more towards intimidation than capabilities. host: back to this map. this is probably available on the "usa today" website. iran has cruise missiles. if those happen to be fired at one of our ships, are our ships defensible? guest: absolutely.
20 years back, we had a navy destroyer that was attacked i and iraqi aircraft and nearly sunk. the navy has tightened up their procedures ever since. all of our ships are prepared to defend themselves at any time. i do not think the iranians would do that. that would be a direct attack on the united states. all of the aircraft are ready to fight and prepared to defend themselves. host: zach from tennessee. taking you live to the center for american progress in washington. ambassador samantha power will be be speaking momentarily on syria, in particular the reported use of chemical weapons
in that country on syrian civilians and the need for international response. live coverage here on c-span. >> good afternoon. i am deep president of the center for american progress -- i am the president of the center for american progress. i am happy to welcome samantha powers. on august 31, international press reporters said syrian military forces lawyer to president assad launched an attack on multiple neighborhoods n nervescus with sari
agent, killing about 1300 syrian civilians, including over 400 children. they died in a horrific fashion, convulsions, vomiting, foaming at the mouth, and other characters of nerve agents that ultimately led to death by a sexy asian. the use of this appalling weapon against civilians is a crime against humanity. there is also a blatant violation of international norms and laws against the use of chemical weapons. international agreements like the protocol of 1925. it is a violation met me -- many members of the g-20 acknowledged a. the president and congress are engaged in an important debate concerning how the united states should respond to the use of chemical weapons. appropriately, the american people are also making sure that their voices are heard and
concerns assessed. while congress debates the use of military force and many people of good will worry about this, the bottom line is that the use of chemical weapons on anyone, let alone on children and on one's own civilian population, is an affront to humanity that cannot be ignored. if chemical weapons become normalized, anyone in the world, particularly in the middle east, that would be destabilizing to regional and global security, including our own. i know that many americans, including many of my progressive friends, are wary of long-term military engagement. that is completely understandable. indeed, the iraq war and its catastrophes are haunting us, but as someone who opposed that war from the beginning, let me say that it would be tragic if and mindlessess war, colored our view of syria where there actually are
chemical weapons that are being used by a dictator to kill his people. and america is now planning a ground invasion or a long-term war. there is no one to better understand the difference between a just and unjust application of force than samantha powers. at the united nations, she is on the frontlines of american diplomacy and democracy at this critical and dangerous time, leading the charge to to have the human live up to the purposes for which it was created. she knows fully the cost of allowing mass atrocities to occur with impunity, having america's response to genocide in the late 20th century. she served under president obama as senior head of multilateral affairs and human rights. please join me in welcoming ambassador samantha power. [applause]
>> good afternoon. i am very glad to be back in washington this afternoon and among so many friends here at the center for american progress. as you know, my topic today is ofious which presents one the critical foreign-policy challenges we face. syria is important because it lies at the heart of a region could tickle to u.s. security, a region that is home to friends and partners and one of our closest allies. it is important because the syrian regime has chemical weapons that they have recently used on a large scale and that we cannot allow to fall into s hands.t' the syrian regime is collaborating with iran and works in lockstep with thousands of extremist fighters from has blood. syria is important to cousins
people, in seeking freedom and dignity, has suffered unimaginable horror these past two and a half years. i also recognize how ambivalent americans are about the situation there. on the one hand, we americans share a desire, after two wars which have taken 6700 american lives and cost over $1 trillion, to invest taxpayer dollars in american schools and infrastructure. on the other hand, and americans have heard the's commitment that this will not the you rock, this will not be afghanistan any use of force will be limited and tailored narrowly to the chemical weapons threat. on the one hand, we share -- we are against these brutal tactics by president assad. and we are worried about the violent extremists who have carried out atrocities. on the one hand, we share the deep conviction that chemical
weapons are barbaric, that we should never again see children killed in their beds, lost to a world that they never had the chance to try to change. yet, on the other hand, some are wondering why, given the flagrant violation of an international norm, it is incumbent on the united states to lead since we cannot and should not be -- [inaudible] notwithstanding these complexities and the various concerns that we all share, i am here to explain why the cost of not taking targeted, limited military action are far greater than the risks of going forward in the manner the president obama has outlined. every decision to use military force is an excretion a -- is an excruciatingly difficult one, especially difficult when filtered to the prism of the past decade. but let me take a minute to discuss the unique remonstrance -- monstrous crime that has brought us to this crossroads. what comes to mind to me is one father saying goodbye to his two
young daughters. his girls had not yet been shrouded. there were still dressed in the pink shorts and leggings of little girls. the father lifted their lifeless bodies, cradled them, and cried out -- wake up, what would i do without you? how do i stand this pain? as a parent, i cannot begin to answer his questions. i cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to feel such searing agony. in arguing for a limited military action in the wake of this mass casualty chemical weapons, we are not arguing that syrian lives are worth protecting only when they are threatened with poison gas. rather, we are reaffirming what the world already made claim in laying down its collective judgment on chemical weapons. there is something different about chemical warfare that raises the stakes for the united states and raises the stakes for
the world. there are many reasons the government representing 98% of the world population, including all 15 members of the un security council, agreed to ban chemical weapons. these weapons kill in the most gruesome possible way. they kill indiscriminately. they are incapable of distinguishing between a child and a rebel. and they have the potential to kill massively. we believe that this one attack and damascus claimed more than 1400 lives, far more than even the worst attacks by conventional means in syria. we assess that although assad used more chemical weapons on august 21 than he had before, he has barely put a dent in his enormous stockpile. and the international community has clearly not yet put a dent in his willingness to use them. president obama, secretary kerry, and many members of congress have spelled out the consequences of failing to meet
this threat. if there are more chemical attacks, we will see an inevitable spike in the flow of refugees on top of the already 2 million in the region, possibly pushing lebanon, jordan, turkey, or iraq past their breaking points. the fourth largest city in jordan right now is already a refugee. half of syria's refugees are children, and we know what can happen to children who grow into adulthood without hope or opportunity in refugee camps. the camps become fertile recruiting grounds for violent extremists. beyond syria, a violation of a universal agreement to ban chemical weapons is not met with the meaningful response other regimes will sick to acquire or use them to protect or extend their power, increasing risks to american troops in the future here and we cannot afford to signal to north korea and iran that the international community is unwilling to act to prevent proliferation or willing to tolerate the use of weapons of
mass destruction. if there are no consequences now for breaking the prohibition on chemical weapons, it will be hard to muster an international consensus to ensure that hezbollah or other terrorist groups are prevented from acquiring or using these weapons themselves. people will draw lessons of the world proves unwilling to enforce the norms against chemical weapons use that we have worked so diligently to bring. israel's security is threatened by instability in the region, and security is enhanced for those who would do it harmthe united states stands behind its word. that is why we have seen israel supporters in the united states come out in support of the president's per post course of action. some of the risks of inaction. but many americans and some members of congress have legitimately focused as well on the risks of action. they opposed a series of important questions, and i would like to use the remainder of my
remarks to address a few of them. some have asked, given our why weive war weariness cannot use non-military tools to achieve the same end. my answer to this question is -- we have exhausted the alternatives. for more than a year, we have pursued countless policy tools short of military force to try to dissuade assad from using chemical weapons. we have engaged the syrians u.n.,ly, russians, and and iranians sent similar messages. but when scuds and other horrific weapons did not quell the syrian rebellion, saw began using chemical weapons as the u.s. concluded in june. evidenceh this growing of several small-scale subsequent attacks, we redoubled our efforts. we back to the ua diplomatic process and tried to get hardee's back to the negotiating table, recognizing that a political solution is the best
way to reduce all forms of threat. we provided more humanitarian assistance. on chemical weapons specifically, we assembled and went public with compelling and frightening evidence of the regime's use. we work with the ui to create a group of inspectors who then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country, on the large -- on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might stop future attacks. or at a minimum, we thought a shared evidentiary base to convince russia or iran, itself a victim of saddam hussein's monstrous chemical weapons , to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. russia, often backed by china, has blocked every relevant action in the security council, even mild condemnations of the use of chemical weapons that do
not ascribe blame to any particular party. in a sock's cost-benefit calculus, he must have weighed the middle -- the -- and assad's cost-benefit calculus, he must have weighed this and being able to get away with it. because of russia. on august 21, he staged the largest can go attack in a whener-century while you inspectors were sitting on the other side of town. only after the united states pursued these nonmilitary options without achieving the of deterringts chemical weapons use that the president concluded that a limited military strike is the only way to prevent assad from using chemical weapons as if they are a conventional weapon of war. i'm here today because i believe in president obama believes that those of us who are arguing for the limited use of force must justify our position, accepting responsibility for the risks and digital consequences of action.
when one considers pursuing nonmilitary measures, we must similarly address the risks inherent in those approaches. diplomaticge, the process has stalled because one side has just been gassed on a massive gale and the other side so far feels it has gotten away with it. what would words in the form of belated depomed eight condemnation achieve -- related diplomatic condemnation achieve? tot if russia or china were allow a referral? what a drawnout legal process affect the calculus of assad and those who ordered chemical weapons attacks? we could try again to pursue economic sanctions, but even if russia budged emma would more asset freezes, travel bans, and banking restrictions convince assad not to use chemical weapons again when he has a pipeline to the resources of has iran?-- hezbollah in
will these approaches we have use for the last years suddenly be effective? this is not the only legitimate question being raised. people are asking, should of the united states work through the security council on an issue so clearly implicates international peace and security? the answer is, of course, yes. if we could, we would. we would if we could, but we cannot. every day for the two and a half years of the syrian conflict to mowing and shown how seriously we take the un security council and our obligations to enforce international peace security. china2011, russia and have vetoed three separate security council resolutions condemning the syrian regime's violence or promoting a political solution to the conflict. this year alone, russia has blocked at least three
statements expressing humanitarian concern and calling for humanitarian access to bits each to cities in syria. the past he demos, russia has blocked two resolutions condemning the generic use of chemical weapons and two press statements with concern about their use. we believe more than 1400 people were killed in damascus on august 21. the security council cannot even agree to put out a press statement expressing its disapproval. the international system that was founded in 1945 to my system we designed specifically to horrorsto the kinds of we saw play out in world war ii has not lived up to its promise or its responsibilities in the case of syria. it is naïve to think that russia is on the verge of changing its position and allowing the un security council to assume its rightful role as the enforcer of international peace and
security. in short, the security council the world needs to deal with this urgent crisis is not the security council we have. many americans recognize that while we were right to seek to work through the security council, it is clear that syria is one of those occasions, like cozumel, when the council is so paralyzed that countries had to act outside it if they are to prevent the flouting of international laws and norms. but these same people still reasonably ask, be on the security council, what support does the u.s. have in holding assad accountable? while the united states possesses unique and abilities to carry out a swift, limited, and proportionate strike so as to prevent and deter future use of chemical weapons, countries around the world have joined us in supporting decisive action. the arab league has urged international action against syria in response to what they
call the ugly crime of using chemical weapons. the nato secretary-general has said the syrian regime is responsible and that we "need a firm international response to avoid a chemical weapons attacks in the future." the organization of islamic cooperation blamed the syrian government for the chemical attacks and called for decisive action. and 11 countries that the g-20 summit today called for a strong international response and noted they are "support for efforts undertaken by the united states and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons." as i have found over the last week at the u.n., the more that countries around the world are confronted with the harsh facts of what occurred on august 21, the more they recognize that the steep price of impunity for assad could extend well beyond a syria. the president's decision to seek congressional support has also given the united states time to mobilize additional international support. there is no question that
authorization by our congress help strengthen our case. one of the most common concerns we have heard centers less on the how or when on intervention but on the what. some americans are asking, how can we be sure that united states will avoid a slippery slope that would lead to full- scale war with syria? on the other hand, others are asking, if the u.s. action is limited, how will that have the desired effect on assad? these are good and important questions. the united states cannot police every crisis any more than we can shelter every refugee. the president has made it clear he is responding militarily to a mass casualty chemical weapons incident. any military action will be a meaningful, time-limited response to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again and to degrade its ability to do so. from the start of the steering conflict, the president has consistently demonstrated that he will not put american boots
on the ground to fight another war in the middle east. the draft resolution before congress makes this clear. president obama is seeking your support to employee limited military means to achieve very s, to deter others in the world who might follow suit using these weapons. the united states has the discipline as a country to maintain these limits. limited military action will not be designed to solve the entire syria problem him and not even militaryproponents of intervention believe peace can be achieved through military means. but this action should have the effect of reinforcing our larger strategy for addressing the crisis in syria. capacityng a thought's to deliver chemical weapons, we will also degrade his ability to strike at civilian obligations by conventional means. in addition, this operation,
combined with ongoing efforts to upgrade the military capabilities of the moderate opposition, should reduce the canme's faith that they kill their way to victory. in this instance, the use of limited military force and strength in our diplomacy and energize the efforts by the u.n. and others to achieve a negotiated settlement to the underlying conflict. let me add a few thoughts and closing. i know i have not addressed every doubt that exists in this room, in this town, in this country, or in the broader international community. this is the right to pay for us to have peered we should be asking the hard questions and making deliberate choices before embarking upon action. there is no risk-free door number two that we can choose in this case. public skepticism of foreign intervention is an extremely healthy phenomenon in our democracy, a check against the
excessive use of military power. the american people elect leaders to exercise judgment, and there have been times in our history when presidents have taken hard decisions to use force that were not initially popular because they believed our interests demanded it. the bosnianen genocide started until 1995 when president clinton launched the air strikes stopped the war, public opinion consistently opposed military action there. even after we succeeded in ending the war and negotiating a peace settlement, the house of representatives, reflecting public opinion, voted against deploying american troops to a nato peacekeeping nation -- mission. no question that this deployment of american power saves lives and returns stability to a critical region of the world and a critical region for the united states. we all have a choice to make. whether we are republicans or democrats, whether we have supported past military interventions or opposed to them, whether we have argued for
or such action in syria buyer to this point, we should agree that there are lines in this world that cannot be crossed and limits on murderous behavior, especially with weapons of mass destruction that must be enforced. if we cannot summon the courage to act when the evidence is clear and when the action being contemplated is limited, then our ability to lead in the world is compromised. the alternative is to give a green light to outrages that will threaten our security and haunt our conscience, outrages that will eventually compel us to use force anyway way down the line which has far greater risks and costs to our own citizens. if the last century teaches us anything, it is this. thank you so much. [applause]
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> earlier we covered a briefing from the united nations on humanitarian efforts in the syrian region. you can watch that at c-span.org . president obama on his way home from the g-20 summit, finishing that sum it up with a news conference today. during the news conference he said that he would be addressing the nation on syria on tuesday night. we will have live coverage. meanwhile, politico reports a top obama administration officials will brief the entire house on the president's request in a closed session on monday night. they say that the national security adviser, the director of national intelligence, and secretary of state john kerry, general dempsey, and chuck hagel will appear in the capitol visitors center monday at 5:00
p.m. eastern. we will keep you updated on other briefings as well. senator harry reid, meanwhile, today as the senate came in, filed a resolution authorizing a limited military strike in syria , filed on the senate floor as they came in for a pro forma session. here is a look. i am gratefulnt, for everyone's cooperation getting us to this point. i now ask unanimous consent to the letter of notification related to section two the printed. , the letterbjection will be printed. , we convene the senate in order to remove -- to report a joint resolution with authorizes use of military force and a limited nature against syria and response to the regime and the use of chemical weapons. as we know, many people have
been killed with this him including almost 500 children. the resolution is signed by committee leaders. tremendous model of bipartisanship cooperation for the senate. i admire both of them for the work they have done and the leadership that they showed in allowing us to be at the point where we are now in this difficult situation. >> and continued congressional reaction to the proposed authorization, the military authorization, the representative from north dakota saying the president does not have to just convince me on syria. he has to convince the american people, specifically the north dakota public. an independent from vermont says -- do you think u.s. military strikes in syria would be likely to lead to a long-term military
commitment there? john larson from connecticut -- as congress begins its debate, we must exhaust all international avenues in response to attacks and syria. twitter.com/cspan. the former u.s. ambassador today released a statement of support, and supported the administration and a potential military strike saying -- >> earlier today, the state department ordered u.s. nonessential -- nonessential u.s. diplomats to leave lebanon due to security concerns as the obama administration and congress debate potential military strikes on neighboring syria. the issue was brought up at today's state department reefing as well. -- today's state department briefing as well.
>> good afternoon, everyone. i am sorry that august is over. i do not have anything at the top today, so i am happy to start with your questions. >> let's start with embassy ,ecurity, personnel movement non-evacuation, evacuations. threats that exist, that you believe to exist to your personnel in interest to lebanon, beirut specifically, are they related to syria or are they related to something else? >> there are potential threats, as we said, and they are the tension inse region, including in syria. it would be obvious to most people and would be silly to think otherwise. that lays a role there. other regional tensions as well.
we will continue to evaluate to see if we have to do anything else. >> are you aware of any specific syria-related threats to either of these posts? >> i am not. we're concerned about tension and the region and potential threats. we make decisions with a variety of factors, but i'm not aware of any specifics. but we are evaluating information every day and will take appropriate steps. nightre was a report last that there was a threat or intelligence intercept of a threat to the embassy in baghdad. beirut,d that, unlike lebanon, and turkey, there was no new warning today and nothing internal that went up on the .mbassy website in baghdad
is that report accurate? is there such a threat? are you concerned about it? if you are, is anything being done to reduce it? >> i am not going to comment on reports about alleged intelligence that may your may not exist. andlearly remain concerned looking at security throughout the region. you noted that we have not taken any action in terms of our post in iraq. i can probably leave it at that for now. we will keep reevaluating, but nothing to announce for any other posts. >> is it safe to infer from what you are saying that the fact that there was no change or there has not been any announced innge to posture any rock -- iraq, that means you do not really -- if there was such a threat, you do not ascribe credibility to it?
answeringon you from anything. i am not going to comment on this alleged intelligence. we will make decisions on our posts on a date by date bases on a variety of information. announceid nothing to and you say you will not comment on this one allegedly it. but then you point to the fact that there has not been any change in posture in iraq. if you're not trying to make -- >> i am just stating a couple of facts. you can infer what you like, but i am stating the facts that there has been no change in baghdad. mentioned in the statement on lebanon and the statement you sent out, you talk about potential threats. the statement on turkey, you say has the consulate general been authorized to draw down its nonemergency staff because of
threats against u.s. government facilities. that would suggest it was not just a potential threat, that there had actually been threats made in turkey. >> i would not do too much parsing of words. turkey is an authorized partner, not an ordered departure. it means nonemergency personnel can make a decision whether or not they want to leave, which is obviously a different level. the travel warning speaks for itself. we will continue evaluating any potential threats on a daily basis. >> so there have been threats? >> i'm not aware of any specific threats. furtherou anticipating ordered evacuations in other embassies in the region? there is a range of countries where we have seen violence. >> we will continue evaluating information as it comes in. if we need to take additional steps, we certainly will. our preference is always to have
our folks on the ground. the consulate or services are still happening in a root come up that we are just drawing down some personnel. it is an issue that everyone is very clearly focused on as we go forward. our security of our people and facilities in the region is of the utmost concern to everyone here. it remains open. for normal services, they will be somewhat limited because of the smaller staff. >> are you able to tell us how many people were involved in the ordered evacuation today? >> i cannot give you exact numbers. for security reasons, we do not do that. it was an authorized departure in adonna. in beirut, it wasn't ordered departure -- it was an ordered a partner. >> [indiscernible] it wasfirmed that
actually -- >> i said i was not going to comment on those reports. >> over the past few hours, have their been any sort of movement on the diplomatic front? >> there have been. as you all know, the secretary in route now and a lot will be happening over the weekend with his meetings. we can all stay in touch over the weekend. today, friday, he spoke with the arab league secretary-general, the egyptian foreign minister, the mexican foreign, the russian foreign minister tama and he also spoke with him yesterday as well. >> with the following committee in paris, will they talk about the peace process or will they be focused on syria? >> we expect that they will talk
about both issues. this is a follow-up meeting on the peace process. the ambassador is with the traveling party right now. we expect both topics will be discussed. eventk to serious, in the , should theyria show any willingness to forgo their chemical arsenal, is there room for demo -- for diplomatic efforts? thate president made clear he has made the decision that united states should take take military action to degrade and deter the assad regime's capability. we're talking with congress about authorizations to do so. that is a hypothetical. we have seen a location that it might happen, could happen. if that were to pass, it would be a different discussion. every indication is that the
assad regime has escalated their chemical weapons and they have no intention of doing anything to stop the brutality against their own people. that is a hypothetical. quite frankly, i do not see it being plausible. restricted to the chemical weapons capability or doesn't go far beyond that? >> i i do not want to get ahead from where we are. we have not talked specifically about what this military action would look like. at the goal is to deter the assad regime from using chemical weapons in the future and degrade their abilities to do so. i will not go into specifics of potential targets of such action. this,a result of all of now that the administration has reconciled itself or halves to the effort, dz you see regime change in syria? >> it is clear that this action is not aimed at regime change. it is clear that assad has lost
all legitimacy and must go. we have have been clear that the process that that needs to happen through is a political solution through the geneva process, which is in the best interest of the syrian people and has the best chance for this process to succeed. >> you said every indication is that the assad regime has escalated their use of chemical weapons. >> absolutely. >> does that mean beyond august 21? this first happened in june. it makes you believe that he would use them again at even greater strength or whatever in the future if he was not the terror? >> absolutely. secretary kerry wrote today that we absolutely believe that is -- that if we do not act here, he will use chemical weapons again
and again against his own people . >> and potentially against other people. >> clearly, that is a concern. it could fall into the hands of .errorist or other bad actors >> with the way it looks right now, and i realize this is partly hypothetical in terms of the vote, but what is not hypothetical are the numbers that are out there right now. we do not have them. >> the congressional vote? >> yes. right? counts -- >> are you aware of one that shows that the ministration wins? washe authorization advanced to the full senate today. hasrly, as secretary kerry said, we do not think the congress will take steps by not authorizing to strengthen as iran,t, iran -- assad,
and others. be doing morewill next week. >> can you be specific? >> we have a list of hearings. >> you anticipate he will be up there for hours on end -- all be spending hours of our life upon the hill. it is important. the discussion and debate is exactly why the president thought it was so important to go to congress. of the numberse that show the trend line is moving in a positive direction? >> we believe we will get where we need to be with this vote. we do not think that congress will allow america's credibility to be questioned by not doing this. >> a follow-up.
can you talk about what was said today in terms of getting the vote and he will not start? is in line with what the president said. there has been no change in our position. it was not his desire or intention. his desire is to secure congressional approval. he was not speculating on what the president might do, but our position has not changed. >> i heard him saying there would not be a strike if he does not get the votes. >> i would look at all the comments he has made. we have made clear that the president made clear that his intention was to go to congress, and we expect to get the necessary votes. there will be days ahead with intense debate and discussion, and that is what democracy is
supposed to look like. at the end of the day, we will get there. >> what stupidity national security adviser said was the president does not need the authority of congress to act. but you did not finish his sentence when you said it is neither his desire nor intention. nd there.ot aen you said absent congress backing him. >> there was no change in our position. secretary kerry has been asked a lot about this and has made the same point. we do not believe that will happen. >> you believe what you are doing right now is a deterrent to assad using chemical weapons? >> what actions are you referring to, my briefing today? >> whatever the administration's is what the
administration doing now, in taking this to congress, is that acting as a deterrent to prevent assad, do you think? >> the president's announcement that he intends to take military action, absolutely, is part of our efforts to deter assad. support,ernational speaking in one voice as a nation, it is all part of this. if congress does not authorize this, we will be sending these out opposite message, that he can do this with impunity again and again. america will not stand up and stand behind its words when it says what it intends to do. >> do you believe the country through congress is speaking with one voice right now? >> that is the point of authorization. we speak oh strongly on the international stage when we speak with one voice. theyll be more powerful if
say this cannot stand and this is a response. >> there is an argument that one could make that when you have such disagreement and wild disagreement -- and this is huge -- for some of the -- some of the president's strongest supporters are against this, some of the biggest hawks on the republican side are against this, and i think someone could make the argument that that kind of fractious debate actually undermines the credibility of the country, because it shows assad and the iranians and the that congress is not united and that the country is not united around this. not gone toe had congress, there would still be a lot of heated debate. that is not necessarily a product of going to congress. that exists in our political system. >> the suggestion from this
morning that that indecision would prevent the u.s. from acting, and so the that is -- >> what we are focused on in terms of assad and tehran and of it.ng is the outcome after a democratic debate and the united we in states, despite our differences, can't stand up to syria and say this is unacceptable, that that has a much stronger impact across the world than not going to congress. >> who spent a lot of time and effort putting together a case, administration spent time and effort putting together a case that it believes is rock solid, on hundred percent, and is justification for the president 's decision to take military action. i think the argument could be made that then taking it to
congress, the president not taking an executive decision, which is in, you say, his authority, taking it to congress and then exposing the wild -- a huge divide over taking military action, does not enhance credibility at all. endare gambling that in the that you will win and the vote will be sufficient enough to that a large majority of the american people, through their representatives, are in favor of this, is that correct? when the congress authorizes this action, and america will speak with one voice, and let me finish, and what assad feels in terms of our response will not be a pinprick, he will know what it happens, it will be more than what some people have talked about, and that america is speaking with one voice as we take those actions has much more
credibility around the world, not just to syria, iran, but with our international partners. amercoongress votes no, will also have spoken with one voice, correct? >> we do not believe that will be the outcome. we will work with congress to get to the right place. the president made it clear that the the united states needs your spot them and now it is up to congress to make that clear. if you saytand, but congressional vote to give the authorization will show that america is speaking with one voice, then surely the congress has to be true that if the congress does not authorize it, america is also speaking with one voice. >> not at all, because the president believes we should do it. what it would show to the rest of world as america is not willing to stand by what it says him and when we say we need to take action to protect international norms, that the united states congress is not willing to stand by that, that is the message it would send.
to the international context of this, we have all seen in the g-20 summit in st. petersburg that there is an awful lot of skepticism from the international community about whether a military strike is justified. i wondered if the administration believes that irrespective of the congress'decision, the american legal decision, whether under international law such a strike would be justified. >> i would point to the joint statement that just got released from the g-20. from the leaders and representatives of australia, canada, france, italy, japan, republic of korea, saudi arabia, turkey, and united states, issued a statement, and it is a strong statement. i want to make a few points. today's statements echoes many of our views on the syrian crisis.
it condemns the horrific chemical weapons attacks. supports efforts to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons but condemns all human rights violations in seattle on all sides, and reaffirms -- in syria on all sides, and reaffirms our desire for a political resolution to the geneva process. building international support for a response to the assad regime's use of chemical weapons. in the coming days you will see more of this. they are confident we are going to get to a place where we have more international support on this as well. >> i think on the statement, it countries,of 20 g-20 a narrow majority, not an overwhelming majority. >> it was a strong statement that was not preordained, and incredibly strong statement of
about a wide range of countries share. i think coming out of a summit that has been focused on, to have such a strong statement is a positive thing. >> my question actually was whether the united states -- because what we are talking about here is the contention -- one of the reasons we would launch a military strike is because the assad regime is considered to have broken international convention. my question is, is it under international law legal for america to carry out military strikes against syria? >> i will not get into an legal analysis rate in the days and weeks ahead as we go to the congressional process, as we decide on exact course of military action, we will have all these conversations. i will not do that kind of legal analysis. -ki moonuse ban
said that military force is only used when the security council approving any action. as we have given up on the security council, is it your understanding that this would fall under article 51 of the charter? >> i will not get into that when we are still working through congress and determining the exact course of military action if it is authorized. >> the secretary's statement sets a redthe world line. is that the same one set by the president on the 20th of august, 2012, or is that a different one? >> the president said that this is not just the united states red line, this is not just the president must read line, it is the world's redline, that is why we have the chemical weapons and geneva conventions as well.
>> when you're talking about the world red line -- >> the use of chemical weapons. >> a slight problem because i do not think that red line that was drawn in the chemical weapons convention's talks of anything about president assad or syria the kind ofg weapons around or using them off for that matter. it talks only -- the red line -- the president and assad and serious, the redline for president assad and chemical weapons was set by the president. >> but the norm underpinning that -- >> i get your point. >> they are not different things. >> they are related, but the redline concerning assad, and this changes the calculus as set by the president, but not by the chemical weapons -- same is a red line, the one that said this is
unacceptable behavior -- >> that relate specifically to syria. >> but the notion of the use of chemical weapons is a red line in the world community. >> i take your point. can i just follow -- you are saying you are going to give us -- you will not give us your legal justification for doing this until after the fact? >> i am not saying that. right now i am not getting into any legal analysis of any potential action. >> when will you be able to? >> we will talk about this as we get closer to the authorization of action. >> can you say such justification will be provided for the president authorizes -- because it strikes me as-- but he is going to authorize it, you're only going to provide justification afterwards -- >> you are jumping to conclusions. >> i'm trying to get you that
the legal justification will be provided before you launch cruise missiles-- >> when we talk about what happens before legal action, i will not talk about it. >> monday? tuesday? >> what should we do now to prevent the u.s. from taking any action? is there anything they can do at this stage? >> the president has made clear what they did on august 21 must the respond to. is what weumption are operating under. i do not want to lay out hypotheticals. every step they have taken since brutally killing their own people was with actions that are just unacceptable. lay out aoing to hypothetical of what they can do. the bottom line remains the president has made clear the united states and our partners should hold regime
accountable. >> there has been expressed frustration about the you and security council has not responded, but given your experience in the past, does the u.s. believed at this time for any reform for the voting structure in the security council so that not one single country can paralyze the un security council? >> a good question, and i would know that ambassador powers is making remarks at serious today, and i encourage people to look at those remarks as well. that is something we talked about at the you and a lot. at the u n a lot. what we are talking about it the security council as of the state and the fact we cannot allow syria to act with impunity because one or two questions refuse to hold them accountable in the security council. that is a bigger issue that folks are focused on, but in the real world, the security council
we have today, this is the situation we face. >> are you confident that a russian veto or chinese veto you would get the votes needed on a resolution to this? >> i do not want to venture what i hypothetical would look like insperity council. >> you are blaming that they have vetoed power and they can do it -- >> and russia has vetoed it three times in the past. >> your are confident if there were no vetoes you would be able to get a resolution? >> i did not say that. we know who the problem is in the security council today. >> on the other hand the united states has used its veto is on various occasions where they do not agree with them. surely, that was part of the international democracy checks and balances. >> we believe the u.n. and the security council are in porton international institutions. the u.s. supports them in a
great number of ways. in this instance, in this case, the syrian regime tossed actions were so egregious and crossed such an international norm and we have seen such intransigence by the russians, that we are where we are today, and going forward we will continue to work in the u n because it is an incredibly important body. first. >> you are mentioning the brutal regime at the same time you're a strike ort something to degrade and deter the chemical weapons. in this context, where is the civil war, which is going on in syria? is it going to help to put and end for the civil war, because nd, we are talking about chemical weapons, the strike that is going to hit something and degrade -- where is the
civil war? it is not just the regime not taking care the people. there is a civil war going on. me -- so iexplain to can understand what is your vision of a civil war or not? >> the action we are talking about in which we went to congress to get authorization for is a response to the use of chemical weapons. to the turkoman the great, -- to deter and degrade. -- theeve the only texa only solution is a political solution. but at the same time we will continue to support the opposition. continue to support them in a variety of ways because we believe that they do to continue to became to hold their own against the regime,
that we need to get both parties to a place where they will come to the table at geneva. we are responding to the use of chemical weapons. at the same time, you are working with the opposition and with our international partners to work for the political solution to the crisis there, absolutely. >> the other question, related somehow to the first question, is we all agree now that the rules ofime broke the the world and of the international norms, but if you are trying to talk about military power or a military we doubt the international support and all these things, and considering that the security council is a kind of hostage of russia, for example, the expression came out yesterday, and putin is calling secretary kerry a liar.
you can talk about political solution after all these steps and meanwhile the norms are broken, or people trying to break it, which is like to find a political solution when people start to not respect the u.n., people start to not respect each other or to the support of each other -- how you can find a political solution from this dilemma>? the relationship with russia, and the white house has talked about this, clearly there are issues where we vastly disagree with the russian government. syria has been one of them at times, although we have worked on them with geneva process. whened to work with them there are international interests, and we had been able to, whether supplying troops in afghanistan, putting sanctions
on iran over its nuclear program, and other issues as well. it is not a black-and-white relationship. it means it is sometimes challenging. we can declare. in terms of the u.n., the international norms of the security council and the united nations was created to uphold aren't what we think needs to be s are what we think needs to be upheld in circuit and a member of the security council that holds to hold a regime accountable for the norms the united nations was great to uphold cannot rel allow the regime to go forward without response. that is my answer, and we value the u.n.'s work. we will continue to support it as we always have. >> talking about the international lead that the u.s. is doing and some of the members of the g-20 that came with the
statement, there are some areas of the world that it seems that based on these atrocities, they're very silent. for example, latin america. i do not see there was any vote in a moment in favor of an action in syria from latin america. does the u.s. worry about this? clearly, what we have been doing and what we will keep doing is reaching out to our friends and partners around the world. the secretary talked with the mexican foreign secretary today eerie we are talking to leaders around the world. that line here is positive. -- the trendline here is positive. the more the intelligence case supportknown, the more w we get around the world. that process is ongoing. >> at the moment if there is today in the security council a vote, do you think the u.s. will win that vote? made clear that
russia's track record on serialization's is not a good one and that there are why we arence iis not pursuing that route at the moment. [indiscernible] have a short the u.s. of some kind of [indiscernible] is that still the same? >> there have been a lot of numbers flowing out there, and there is a lot interest in it. we will refrain at most times from doing a minute i minute play-by-play of what this all looks like. the trendline is positive. support continues to grow. i will not get ahead of where we are in terms of potential partners that would assist in such an action, but i would point to the trendline we have seen from public statements, including the g-20 statement. >> secretary kerry and minister
avrov? >> they spoke yesterday for 40 minutes. they discussed the response to chemical weapons in syria. they also again spoke about geneva and this in the cecily of geneva. disagreeme time we about chemical weapons, we continue to talk about the necessity of geneva, and before that the last time they spoke on august 27. if i can get a readout today, i will give that to you. the ministers are reportedly visited moscow on monday. was there discussion of that between the secretary -- >> not my knowledge. let me doublecheck. >> i wonder if you see it as a positive sign that there is some physical -- political talk happening because it was the russian side that was going to bring the syrian side to the table? >> we would have to take a look
at what is discussed and would not want to comment on it until after it happens. the russians play a key role in getting folks to the geneva process. he said that from the beginning. excuse me. -- we said that from the beginning. excuse me. the secretary spoke -- excuse me. losing my voice. spoke with the syrian foreign minister to make clear that they needed to let in inspectors at the beginning of the process. we will see what happens and go from there. someone ask a long question. >> get might not belong. the trendline is positive both internationally and on the hill, that is your line? >> yes. >> but you're not willing or able to offer as any proof of the trendline being positive beyond the g-20 statement of --
>> i think it is a very strong statement. >> it is, but i do not think it adds to the number of countries -- there are no newcomers to the condemnation of it are you aware of? >> discussions are ongoing. we see the trendline going in that direction. if i have specifics, i will get them to you >>. ok, but then can you not say that the -- it is hard to accept on face value you saying the trendline is positive when there is no evidence to back that up. or you are not willing to show. >> i think the statement from the g-20 was positive. >> but not in terms of numbers. >> it is important this large number of countries across the world -- >> i understand, but you said what is positive that these countries came together and had a strong statement. >> that is part of it. >> it is not adding another country to the list.
private conversations diplomatically are ongoing and we feel the trendline is positive as we have an additional things to announce. roledo you assess iran's if you hit serious? -- syria? >> i do not want to go down that road. we are looking at all possible reactions from the region. pointas up until does late and incredibly negative role in syria. all of thoseg at contingencies right now and we would encourage folks -- one of the reasons i think that we encourage in congress to vote for the authorization is because if we do not and if we do not stand up and say when we say something we mean it that leaders in places like terror on will get the wrong message about american credibility, that we do
not mean what we say, and if we say do not cross a line and we --not act >> but you are sending mixed messages there. >> it is not in the best interests of the steering people and i would certainly hope if we take any military action, other countries in the region, other bad actors will not escalate the system because it is not in their interest to do so. iran?and iran or let me finish. i will come back to you. credibility,ue of it is talked about a great deal, suggest be right to that the u.s. credibility hinges or rests on its ability to strike serious and do military action and dominate that region? >> that is not what we are
suggesting. we suggest american could ability rests on a lot of things. our economic power, influence, engagement of the world. it is our diplomatic engagement on a number of issues, including nonproliferation and others as well. america has said something, says we will do something, that we stand by that, whether it is military options or not. that we speak with one voice, that we mean what we say, and we say what we mean. that is always what america has stood for and continues to be the case going forward. economic, military, all of the above. yes, i'm going to you. on the makeup of the syrian opposition forces, so far there have been about a dozen reported cases of ethnic all opinions being -- ethnic all kenyans -- albanian being killed.
the recruitment of these people in the balkans on islamic thends will have on balkans, and the return of the survivors to their hometowns, the effect is a have, given that last year around easter there was a horrendous islamist attack nians?a >> we have a continuing constructive dialogue with the number of countries around it concerns, including the balkans, but we remain concerned by securing violence of any kind inside syria, no matter where it originates. we will continue to push the international computer the, the folks who are doing this, to stop doing it because it is not in the best interest of the syrian people. and all our conversations with moderate and political leaders, we urge the opposition to reject that kind of file it extremism and to isolate these groups to ensure that their ideology does not take root, to respect the
rights of all syrians, and make sure that ideology does not get taken back to the places in the region as well. he has seen our goal spillover violence in lebanon and iraqi already. it is something we remain concerned about. syria, still? let's finish up syria. --on nato, i want to know nato is not very united at this moment, right? thate have some countries in very acqtive libya. you think that may change? >> italy signed on to the statement, so i would put that out with italy. i think that is a positive trend line if we want to call it that, matt. so i think -- >> [indiscernible] thexactly, and those are trendline set of positive. >> those are countries
that have not been this for four? -- before? >> we will continue to dig up support for the exactly this. there were reports the restrictions on foreign diplomats. >> we are very concerned about this amendment. we understand this it would require host government permissions for meetings between foreign diplomats and international organizations with legitimate political groups. we plan to meet with bahraini officials and seek further information about their policy. as we do with countries around the world, we expect the government of bahrain to share our interests in free communications and we will be making that point in the coming
days with their government. week gave around 6.7 billion u.s. dollars aid assistance to pakistan over the next three years. say?u have anything to >> i do. the pakistani government has cited economic revitalization as a top prior day. we continued to support pakistan's work to stabilize the economy. i know the secretary talked someone thereh when he was there recently. we look into the support their reform effort, our ownership, and look to pakistan's civilian leadership to determine the direction of these efforts, including the agreement with the imf. the u.s.ic reforms, is going to announce additional
economic aid to pakistan? toi have nothing new announce. this is a very important issue between our two countries, and if we have anything new, i will let you know. ththe president elections in e maldives -- do you have anything? >> i do not have anything yet. check back on monday. yes we will go here. >> and advisor to president rouhani was quoted today as saying he does not have a twitter account and that accordingly the tweets that was widely reported on earlier this week in which the president of iran apparently wishing jews and especially iranian jews happy rosh hashanah was in fact not an authorized message and the president of iran. has the iran desk here at state made a determination whether or not the president did or did not
send out any type of rosh hashanah greetings? >> i do not know the answer. i will be happy to look into it. i will take this opportunity to wish everybody a rosh hashanah -- a happy rosh hashanah and a happy new year. korea, talk seven canceled and a visit to north korea. you have anything on the reason why north korea refused to come -- >> i have no new updates for. encourage you to reach up to them to speak for their actions, but nothing new on that. >> [indiscernible] korea >> north those reports. he is a private citizen and i think is her rotten can speak firms up. rodman can speak for himself. he is a private citizen and is
not working for the u.s. government. north korea. you put out a notice yesterday that someone is going to north korea. were these previously scheduled talks or is this a result to that meeting being canceled? >> let me check on that to get you an answer after the briefing. >> the meeting between the secretary of state and -- on monday -- is there anything you can share about the meeting? i know there is a blackout. anythingot have to add. as we have more details about what the secretary will be doing , i can provide it or the traveling party well, but nothing to add. >> did the palestinians complain to you about israel insisting on
a state with temporary borders, because apparently all throughout the negotiations with israel, that is what israel is saying, that they will acquiesce to temporary borders. >> i have no readout of the discussions going on in these negotiations. >> the u.s. think this is not a good moment to delay this next meeting with brazil based on the fact that the question that will arise there is a lot of -- between the u.s. and brazil, that it is a good time to the lake this because it seems the real things to discuss are not on the table and we are talking about things that were not thought about when this meeting was planned, right, about this? detailsld refer you to about his visit or potential visit to the white house.
broadly speaking, we will discuss and in appropriate thematic channels issues that othercountries raise with reports of activities that said all caps are's around the world engages in. we will continue talking all countries as they raise the issues and i think that is probably all i will have. and resultss say that the advanced event was coming to washington to prepare the state visit was canceled. do you have information on that? >> i have no information for you about that issue. if i've anything further to share, i am happy to do so. >> egypt -- i do not know if you have anything on in egypt update about political changes or the crackdown of the brotherhood and anything going on on the political, more than -- i know yesterday there was a statement , abouthat happened
security matters. anything about the political issue, the political scene then, what is going on, the so-called reform and all these issues going on in egypt? >> i have no specific updates for you. you continue to make the point is athe route force egypt stable, democratic, prosperous egypt, after a transition time in which we're calling all parties to move forward with. i have no updates for you on what is happening there right now. this questionsked before. i remember a week ago maybe the issue of walking and chewing gum at the same time. thatappreciate you use reference. thank you for using it again today. >> i am looking for an answer for my questions. is egypt out of
danger now with the issue of serial or not? >> again the secretary talked to the foreign minister today. i am sure their composition was not about syria. it is on the forefront of everyone cost mines -- everyone's minds as well. no decision has been made but the future of our relationship with egypt. those conversations continue. everybody is focused and will continue to be going forward. thes the ambassador or acting charging a fair -- charge d'affair -- is he this charging his roles as an ambassador? >> we put out a statement last friday noting there was an acting in charge. we do not have any new announcements about her smell to make at this point.
>> will review reacted to news that came out last week that there have not been that many briefings for president morsi is going to have to stand trial for incitement to murder? >> we came go back and look at whether we covered it last night. we said from the beginning that to arbitraryn end arrests and incarceration is. we spoke about him at length. i can see if we responded to it or if we have response. atthere was a round of -- least 11 members of the muslim brotherhood were given life sentences for violence that has erupted in july. again, it would seem fairly quick justice. is there any concern on the u.s. part of these are being properly handled? >> i do not want to speak to the specifics.
we have been concerned about arbitrary and politically motivated arrests and look into the the, so we will look into these cases as they are arrive, and if we have views that should be made known, we will do so. i am sorry i did not have specifics. >> are there any contacts between the u.s. government and morsi? >> i do not have any knowledge. is that it? thank you, everyone. have a great weekend. madeleine albright is calling on congress to authorize president obama plus use of use of force on syria. politico reports she is been in contact with lawmakers and says she felt strongly about the vote at wanted to make her views known. is deputy white house
editor for politico rebecca sind erbrand. what is the white house plan over the weekend? >> the white house continues its flood the zone strategy. will meet with republican senators tonight. we know the administration officials are planning to kerry, susan rice, john chuck hagel, all planning a briefing with a full house in a close session monday night. you know the white house chief of staff will be meeting with house democrats on tuesday, and john kerry will appear before the armed house services committee. all this before the president addresses the nation on tuesday night. >> how have officials been wanting -- reacting to the strong pushback on democratic and republican sides on the resolution, on syria? >> you have seen the interesting
message from the white house. variations.two what you are hearing now, because of this overwhelming pushback from congress, is the white house been getting a lot of questions, what congress what -- what happens if congress votes no? a mixed message from the administration. kerry and the president say he retains the authority to take action with or without congressional authorization. hearing from the deputy national security advisor says it is not the president's desire or intention, he does not want to take action without congressional approval. i do not want to downplay the need for congressional approval. at the moment they are asking for it. it is important from a symbolic perspective. >> you say administration brief full house on on syria on monday. why all house members, and who specifically will they her from? >> they will hear from the susan
rice, the national security advisor, james clapper, director of national intelligence, john kerry, and they will hear from the chairman of the rate chiefs, and chuck hagel. will vote on that resolution on wednesday, and if it passes, the house is supposed to be putting this up for a vote. an extreme uphill battle. this will be the third chance for the entire house to meet since that alleged chemical weapons attack back last month. the house will be back in session, the first time they will have all the members together hearing from the administration, getting a full briefing, a classified briefing. thehe white house announces president will speak to the nation on tuesday. reactingossibly action to the syrian speech news, we only hope this is not coming to lake to make a difference.
who is the president aiming for in the speech? who is the target? is it the nation as a whole, or a specific targeted artist of lawmakers? now, the moment right president needs to address the nation as a whole is the message that is becoming from people who support his policy and people who criticize his policy. particularly, from boehner, someone who has about favoring the policies, saying he will not work to make cash to ensure his vote, but making the case that the president has not made the case in a sustained and public way. looking at the direction of the polls, and right now over the past few months the public support for intervention has dropped and continues to drop even following reports of this alleged chemical weapons attack.
donethe president has not everything he can do, or everything he needs to do to make this case unless the dynamic shifts in a fundamental way, he is looking at a no vote in the house. >> what is politico's quickstep count? >> at this point it is shifting almost by the moment. thatost recent estimate our reporters have determined that we have gotten from lawmakers and aides who have been tracking this is that at the most there would be maybe one or two dozen republicans that would back the resolution at this point. they would be looking for a very andng defeat in the house, it on pace at least in this point, and the senate is less certain, but it is on pace not to make that either. speech by the president comes at a very critical moment
come a it comes on the eve not only of the senate vote, but also on the eve of the september 11, as well, so all the nation will be watching, so both the people who support and oppose this policy are going to be watching to see what the president has to say on tuesday night. sinderbrand,aid th thanks for the update. >> thanks so much. at the u.s. capitol, microphones are set up, reporters are waiting for lawmakers to pass by them, and house and senate lawmakers are meeting behind closed doors working on a resolution on syria. obama will address nation on tuesday to make his case from the white house. tozabeth reports he wants shift public opinion in favor of military action while declining to roll out military action if you cannot get congressional
support. the president was speaking from where he is attending the g-20 summit, in st. petersburg, russia, where he has been consulting with other world leaders on the situation in syria. we spoke a few minutes ago with the report. other texts and tweets from across from congressional members -- next we will take a look at using military force in syria. foreign policy experts talk about the ongoing debate and the jewish institute for national
security released a report on how using military force in syria could affect u.s. objectives in iran. >> welcome to red lines and rouhani, a blueprint with syria and iran. we are here to read the first policy paper at jinsa. it is the first paper of our new iran task force, and we have almost half the task force here on the dais right now on the panel. as you can see, and i will mention some of the names, it is a very distinguished bipartisan group of leading experts in the field. this paper, which we have in the back and hopefully -- please take one if you have not already is the first of a series of paper we will be putting out on u.s. policy toward iran.
i will also note the report is also posted on our newly revamped website, at jinsa.org, and i encourage you to check it out. over the past week, washington, certainly the country, and really the whole world, has been focused on the question whether the united states should and would strike syria militarily. and if so, what sort of strike that would be. following the story and its many plot twists has been a dizzying experience for all of us, but also for our allies. perhaps insufficiently stressed in this story and perhaps insufficiently understood has been in this debate that i think
the syria issue needs to be understood largely in the context of iran. the panel will be addressing the syria issue, but also how it affects the iranian issue. to make very clear, as we say in our paper, a strategy to prevent a nuclear iran, we stated upfront on the first page that stopping a nuclear capable iran is the gravest, most pressing national security threat facing the united states. how to do this? in light of the surprise election earlier this summer, rouhani, and the fact that a number of people across the world believe and consider rouhani a moderate, and how best
to prevent a nuclear iran in the context of what is going on in syria, is that a complicating factor, it is also an opportunity? i would encourage everyone to read the whole report, but i want to highlight a few key points before and then introduce the panel before i turn it over to mort zuckerman. we disagree with the obama administration that the aim is to prevent iran from developing a nuclear weapon, partly we believe based on history it is myopic to believe we will be able to detect iran from putting all the pieces of a nuclear weapon together and then acting in a timely fashion. we believe u.s. policy should be aimed instead at depriving iran of the ability to pursue nuclear weapons. the metrics for making that assessment should not be limited
on what is really prime minister netanyahu stated last year, at the u.n., almost a year ago, when he focused on iran's nuclear stockpile. we believe the metrics are more complicated, and there are a number of variables that go in how to assess nuclear weapons capability. our belief is that the red line for preventing iran from becoming nuclear is to prevent them from getting material faster so that the united states could successfully prevent it. prevention will only be possible if iran's nuclear progress is stopped before it attains an undetectable nuclear weapons capability. turning to the iranian election, we grappled with what the significance of the election meant of rouhani.
it was a surprise, many people thought that someone more seemingly closely aligned with the supreme leader might be the one elected. yet it was rouhani. what does this mean? we offered in our report two possible interpretations of the meaning behind his election, but we believe both of those interpretations argue for a very tough policy toward iran. let me mention them quickly. interpretation number one is that the regime is weak in iran, and possibly the security apparatus has collapsed.
khamenei and his security services were too weak to enforce his own preference who was elected. they feared the repeat of 2009, after the presidential election, that if they named their favorite and they decided to accept the rouhani victory. that was one interpretation. the other was an elite accommodation that means that the regime is merely weakened, not collapsed, and they are seeming to reduce pressure, internal and external, and they felt that rouhani was acceptable because he is a loyal elite, a consensus builder and he is seeing both internally and externally as a moderate, so having him become president will reduce their pressures. we believe the implications of both of these interpretations are the same. if the security apparatus has collapsed in the first interpretation, then the united states must go for broke, put
maximum pressure to fracture the elites, and then an arms control agreement then will only alleviate the pressure. if the regime is merely weakened, we still believe you have to increase the pressure because otherwise the status quo will still be continued. if the regime is hurting, then a negotiated solution might be in reach. if its means of coercion has evaporated, the u.s. should help the regime find its way into history's dust bin. the u.s. needs to quickly test both of these interpretations. the best way to do that is through deplomatic engagement that would test iran's sincerity and determine really, help explain really the political dynamics behind rouhani's election. the panel will discuss the
possible diplomatic options, but i will say we had a heated discussion about that. there was disagreement about exactly what the best approach was, but we narrowed it down to two. we disagree -- let me continue, though -- we disagree with those that many have argued that if you relieve pressure that the regime will feel more secure and more likely to come to a diplomatic arrangement. we believe on the contrary that history with the iranian regime should suggest the regime only responds to pressure. we also believe in rhetoric and in action obama and congress must convey concretely the will to strike iranian nuclear facilities as a last resort. we discussed political warfare
as an important pressure. these are some of the highlights. the group will not only be discussing syria, but all these issues and how it affects iran and flesh some of the points i raised out further. to conclude, i want to thank at least in my office jonathan for his hard work on this paper. also jennifer keach and andrea smith and bill for their efforts on this paper and organizing the event, and i want to highlight jamie, our communications director. let me turn to the panel. we have a distinguished panel, and mort zuckerman is going to be moderating. mort is editor and chief of "u.s. news and world report." ambassador eric edelman is the
co-chair of the task force, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, and now is a distinguished resident at merrill center. ambassador dennis ross is the other co-chair. he is a former special assistant to president obama and a senior director at the national security council for the central region. he is a counsel at the washington institute for near east policy. john hannah is currently a senior fellow at the foundation for the defense of democracy. steve rademaker is former secretary of state and is currently a principal at the podesta group. and ray takeyh is a senior
fellow at the council on foreign relations. please take a look inside the report. i will mention the other members of the task force. chris carney, professor elliot cohn, dave deptua, larry goldstein, retired admiral gregory johnson, retired general chuck walls. they are the other members. i turn it over to mort. thank you. >> thank you very much. as i was driving here with a driver who was not sure where we were going, it reminded me -- thank you -- can you hear me?
as i was driving here with a driver who was not sure where he was going, and brought to mind the old adage, when you do not know where you are going, any road will do. still not working. >> get closer to it. >> there is an old phrase which is when do you not know which way you are going, any road will do. every now and then i have had that feeling with the way the administration has been conducting itself. there is a point that we must now look at and that was the president's response to the chemical weapons attacks by assad of syria and whether that affects viability and credibility in the way of our threat that president obama to "use all the elements of american power" to support iran plus nuclear ambition and prevent, not contain a nuclear iran, and that on issues like
this in these matters he "does not bluff." he said this year a nuclear iran would threaten the stability of the global economy as well as triggering a nuclear arms race in the region, unraveling the nonproliferation treaty. i will add, how does his response to the chemical weapons attacks in your judgment affect the credibility and the viability of what we have heard in just in terms of words and intentions? >> well, mort, i think you have put your finger on what is an extremely important question, one that we tried to address in the report that is being released today. one of the reasons i think the report is timely is that with all the attention that has been
focused on egypt and syria over the last few weeks, we have a great example of what many of us who have worked in washington have seen before, which is the urgent chasing out the merely important from people's time and attention. in the midst of all this, about a week or so ago the iaea delivered another report on iran's nuclear progress, which shows mostly bad news. the good news is the heavy water reactor is not proceeding as quickly as earlier reports suggested it might. on the other hand, iran is proceeding apace with the installation of more effective, more efficient centrifuges for uranium enrichment. one of the things the paper addresses is the issue you raise, which is the credibility of the diplomatic effort and what underpins it.
i think one of the things we talked about is that you do need an all government approach, all the elements, and in particular diplomacy needs to be underwritten by clear military intent and capability. and so obviously what has happened over syria is extremely important. it is one reason why it is crucial that congress actually authorizes the president to take action. i would hope they would urge along the way that the president take more robust action. it is worth perhaps reflecting on how we got to this path, because there are steps that could have been taken earlier that might have made it less necessary to deal with this issue. but i think it is important for the institutional presidency and the credibility of the president's statement with
regard to iran that the congress authorized the use of force. unless iran believes there is a credible military option underpinning the willingness to negotiate, there will not be a successful negotiation, and we all agree that a negotiated outcome would be the best from everybody's point of view if we can get there. >> i generally agree with what eric had to say. i would make a couple of points. first, and this hits to the heart of what you're asking. i think the framing of the issue by the administration on syria makes it unmistakably clear that if there is not a response to the crossing of a red line, the iranians will draw a lesson that when we create red lines we do not mean them. the president is seeking a congressional authorization that
adds, creates a greater sense of political legitimacy for the actions they are taking. i think it is if congress were not to authorize, the message that would be sent is not only do we not have a red line, but the congress would be sending a green light to anyone to use chemical weapons anywhere and know that they can do it without a response from the united states. obviously the iranians will try the conclusion which is to say the americans have established a red line, they are not prepared to act on a red line when the administration makes it clear that prevention is an objective that will look more rhetorical than real. there is a direct relationship between what is going on in syria and how the iranians will perceive it. there are those who say somehow
that if we use military strikes against the syrians, because of the use of chemical weapons, this will strengthen the hardliners within iran. i would beg to differ. it has the opposite impact. it makes it clear when the united states says something about its objectives, it aims, what it says. and almost i would say the most certain way to assure diplomacy has a chance to succeed with iran is for the iranian regime is to understand that force will be used. that is the last thing iran wants. if we want diplomacy to succeed, the thrust of what the report suggests, i think the more credible it is that we will be
prepared to use force, that is more likely to make a diplomatic outcome a certainty. at this point i think the thrust of this report is that there is a chance to have diplomacy succeed. i do think one point i would quibble with is what mike had to say. i actually think the position of the administration is -- the president has said that you cannot just wait until they are at that point. i think the measures we have identified in this report, which is you have to have sufficient time to be able to detect and then act creates the kind of standard by which to judge when
you are past the point where in fact you would lose the ability to ensure when you say prevention is your objection you can fulfill let objective. >> thanks. thanks to jinsa for putting together the group. one thing i say on the issue of credibility and red lines, and the audience is not only in iran, and it is in particular throughout the world, but in particular with respect to iran in the middle east. i think anybody who has traveled any time i would say over the last two years or three years over the region knows already before the syria crisis the store of confidence in the president's red line with respect to the iranian nuclear program and his willingness to really take on necessary
measures to stop the iranians from achieving a nuclear military capability, that confidence was already very low. in the wake of the syria crisis and what has happened to the extent that people do see a degree of indecision, lack of resolve, and unwillingness, very rapidly, once a red line is crossed to take measures to address it, i think has at least momentarily put us into a much more dangerous position, but the number of calls i have gotten from israelis and the number of discussions i have had in recent days, they really are alone in this and it is really going to be up to them. then your space and time for action, for israel, becomes much
quicker than it is for the united states. to the extent people measure the israeli red light, green light response -- we have gone into a much more dangerous posture, and the president can recover still, but i think now the bar, if he gets approval from congress, which i think he should, and i think it is necessary at the expectation for what he is going to do to enforce that red line and the kind of damage he will do this. the kinds of consequences there will be for crossing president's red line, people will be looking at that. we are beyond the realm of shot across the bow and doing enough not to be mocked. this will have to be a serious operation. whatever the president thought before saturday when he threw in this into the congress' hands,
and this is an indication of how worried israelis are, how important this issue of american credibility and the credibility of the president and the congress is this decision by apac to go public yesterday with their endorsement for congressional authorization. they know how essential fulfilling that threat against syria is to this larger issue of iran, and that is one of the best indicators. the other final question i would raise, and i do not know how israelis are thinking about this, whether the administration has thought about it, but as a procedural matter and a presidential matter, having thrown this relatively small issue on enforcing an obvious breach of a red line into the hands of congress, what is the president going to do with respect to the iranian nuclear program, where confidence levels and arguments within the
community much be more severe and it is not going to be -- the iranians, not having used a capability, but the prospect that they have capability, what will the president do in that situation, and that is a big question that people have to think about seriously now, how do we put in place a structure now so that we are not in the same situation we have been in the last two weeks when we did determine iran is very close to a breakout capability. >> please go ahead. >> thank you. i agree with everything my colleagues have said about the importance of congress voting to give president the authority he has asked. our national interest requires it at the current stage. i think it is unfortunate that
we have come to this issue the way we have. if obama thought authorization was necessary, he should have said that at the outset instead of waiting so late in the game to decide that was an essential step. the way this has played out reminds me of the movie "high noon," a classic with gary cooper. in the movie, gary cooper is the marshal, and he breaks away from his wedding to grace kelly to round up a posse to confront the outlaws. as the movie plays out, the members of the posse break up, so by the climactic scene he is all by himself facing the outlaws. that is what has happened here. obama breaks away from his vacation to deal with this threat, to round up the posse, and david cameron bails out so suddenly the president decides and says what i need is
congressional authorization. it does not suggest a high level of confidence in his conviction that he is doing the right thing. i think that has fed the skepticism in the congress. it has made it more difficult for members to feel comfortable that they are doing the right thing by voting to endorse the president. for the reasons that have been articulated, having to do with iran and the perceptions of the reliability and seriousness of the united states, i think congress needs to step forward and give the president the authority he has requested. >> to be the last speaker -- i want to highlight to arguments made by dennis and john, in terms of effects on diplomacy. it seems to me the experience of
the past decade suggest that the iranian regime, whatever its political complexion, is more interested in diplomacy when it feels anxious and distressed. the question becomes how much distressed and anxious are they because of this perspective use of military force? in terms of demonstration effects, to highlight the point that john made, demonstration effects in terms of demonstration of the use of military force in one place and its effect on others, demonstration effects affect allies more than u.s. adversaries. what happens in syria is often considered in context of iranian calculations, but the calculations of the gulf states, israelis, and others looking at
this issue is going to be more material as you think about this issue. those are the two points i wanted to make. i apologize that steve gave away the end of the movie, for those of you who have not seen it. >> gary cooper stands alone and faces the outlaws. president obama decides to convene a meeting with the city council to advise him. there is quite a contrast. >> one of the ironies is that the president and united states that have to rebuild their credibility after what some would have called a fiasco over syria, and that is a difficult process because without it we cannot develop a credible war campaign against iran that we need. we have to address, and i would like you to think about that and talk about that, is we are in a situation where there is a precedent of going to congress.
i do not know whether you can alert congress to the kinds of risks that we might be able to assess vis a vis iranians and have enough time to have a long national dialogue about that while iran goes about its merry way. are we not putting us into a different posture vis a vis iran regarding syria and how do we get out of this? >> i would just say one brief thing and then dennis might want to add or subtract from it. the president, when he made his announcement on saturday, did say correctly in my view that he has the authority on his own to do this and that he did not need to go to the congress. but he chose to do it for the reasons he articulated and perhaps some others. i think with something of the
magnitude of iran, i would hope that he would continue to believe he has the authority to do it, and i would argue we should not look at this as a precedent, although there may be people now who argue that it is. >> i agree with what eric said. i think the key here is to be able to show that, a, assuming there is authorization, the character of the strike itself represents one kind of impact. john's point earlier -- john made two points. one was that the strike itself needs to be seen as effective, not just symbolic, but because it becomes a manifestation of the use of american power, that has an effect on the iranians and may have an effect here. point one. point two, i think in the
president might be is trying to draw a distinct line between iran and syria. and to some extent i suspect that one if his hesitancies in that he sees syria's abuses and he did not want that to somehow limit that he could do about iran where he has viewed that being a more strategic threat. one can debate whether to see it that way or not, at that has .een the perception he has had one response in the aftermath of this, aside from i think the importance of being effective. in terms of number two, one of the responses john was suggesting, to prepare the ground now, which one would be the way to affect the point you're making about political
warfare. you want to convince iranians that diplomacy is the best way out, and that is by lining up your ducks in advance, that we are serious about diplomacy succeeding. act.e also prepared to when you prepare the ground for that, you're sending messages to the iranians. some of the preparation would be appropriate, but there is something that the president could do, to reinforce the point that eric was making and that the president himself made in his statement on saturday that he did not need to go to the congress for this. he chose to do it because he felt given the current context of syria and the character of the conflict there, it being a civil war, it being characterized by not just a civil conflict, but also an opposition that is itself highly fractured with elements that we absolutely oppose, that he puts that in a very different
category than iran, and he has been very consistent on the issue that iran cannot have a nuclear weapon, and i would say he has something else that he could also use publicly. he is the third president in succession to make the same point. you had president clinton make the point that iran could not have nuclear weapons, make the point, president bush make the point, and now you have president obama doing it as well. this is a different issue. this is not a civil conflict. this is a case of ensuring that a regime that has violated all the international resolutions, that that as result, three different administrations have said this country cannot be permitted to have nuclear weapons. i think he can do more to in a sense draw the distinction between syria and iran and that
would make him less susceptible to the charge that he has established a precedent. >> i do not disagree with my colleagues, but my hope is that the president reserves the right and the authority to strike iran on his own. i do think -- i mean, the syrian crisis has given him an opportunity to talk about iran, and he will probably be doing that carefully. i say the president was basically awful about preparing the american public for about what he is about ready to get into with syria. the public is war weary, but they have not heard from their commander in chief and what his red line meant up until the last week. the american people are rightly
incredibly confused and they still have not heard anything from him that is authoritative and out of the oval office talking about this and raising the stakes. he has done some of that on iran. i think he will have to do a lot more of that. he has got to get serious about congressional consultations at least. i think he has made his domestic situation with suspected iran much more difficult because in some ways syria is an easy case, when someone uses weapons of mass desertion openly and publicly in a decisive way. that is in some ways the easy way to get people to act. on iran i have this sense that if he does that we advocate and hit them before they are about to test a bomb, all of the stars
have got to align for him to be able to take a credible case to the american people, and if he does it without congress and with very low support amongst the american public for going into a big, wider war with iran compared to syria, so we are told, he is buying himself a hell of a problem. some people have talked about the issue of getting some kind of earlier pre-authorization from congress on the question of the use of force in the iran under certain conditions. and people have shied away from that because it will lose in the congress. that is an idea out there, and at a minimum, this conversation the president is having with the people and congress about iran, pivoting off of syria, i think he has got to engage that in a much more serious way.
>> you asked a good question about the presidential value of this when it comes to iran. fortunately, the syria matter does not exist in a vacuum. there is history, including in the obama administration, and i have in mind libya, which obama conducted operations without authorization, relying on his constitutional authority, and part of the consternation i expressed earlier is accounted for by the contrast with libya, which unlike what i understand to be contemplated for syria, was a much more serious operation. forgive my digression, but i know that there is a good case
to make that what president obama has in mind with regard to syria would not even trigger the war powers resolution, because that resolution states at any time the president introduces united states armed forces equipped for combat into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign country, he has to notify congress, and after 60 days he has to withdraw them if congress has not authorized the operation. tomahawk cruise missiles did not exist in 1973 when the resolution was written, but there is a good case to be made that the tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a distance are not united states armed forces equipped for combat, and so unlike in libya, where we had manned aircraft flying over the country and had u.s. armed forces for combat in libya, the war powers resolution applies. a cruise missile strike, over in a few matter of minutes, not involving manned aircraft, i think is a decent case that that resolution does not cover that. in syria, the president has
decided he needs authorization to go forward. when it comes to iran, i think he has a precedent to not seek authorization, but there will be members of congress who will say absolutely, for a larger, more momentous operation against iran, he needs to seek authorization. i am not a military expert, but i would suspect that the success of any operation against iran will be much greater if we have the element of surprise on our side, and a prolonged debate about whether or not to authorize this of course will probably cost us the element of surprise. >> again, i echo some of the things that have been said. i never worked in congress.
i have reverence for congress. i would say that on the issue of iran, the president should do much more consulting with congress than they have, and i agree with john on this. there should be much more of a dialogue. what is an acceptable agreement? the legislative perspective differs from the executive. both capsules, washington and tehran, are falling into the same mistake. rouhani has talked about moving the nuclear department to the foreign ministry, because one of the advantages of the council, where they have a bottom of all the critical constituents. everybody had a buy-in.
on the other side, i think the executive branch here has done not a particularly good job of bringing in congress into their way of thinking about iran. iran has always been -- you know policies do not work. i think they should shed light on bringing in members of congress. let me focus on the diplomatic agreement. a diplomatic agreement cannot be an agreement negotiated by john kerry. both parties have to understand they have to sell that agreement back home to critical constituencies. and preparing those constituencies for what concessions they want to make is an important step forward, and that is a dialogue that needs to be had, along with what has been spoken about. what sort of a program is the administration willing to live with?
what sort of program are the revolutionary guards willing to live with? what kind of nuclear program are congressional persons easy to live with? all these things need to come to align, and there has to be much work. this isn't 1970. it does not work that way anymore. there is way too much media. the iranian media is full of speculation about the messaging that has been sent between the united states and iran. iran does not have a free press, but it has a competitive press. the right wing press will create the story the way they broke the iran-contra story. this will not remain behind curtains. that is not the era we live in. it is time for us to start having those dialogues here, and rouhani should have that dialogue with his constituencies as well. that is when you begin to see
the requirements of a doable arms-control agreement as opposed to one that is expeditiously violated. >> i would like to it back to a different aspect of the question you asked, which was what is the impact of what has been going on this past week, the syrian question on the iran question down the road. we focus on the presidential issue of going to congress. there is another issue that i do not think he has received sufficient attention, which is that if the congress authorizes military action, and the president in the case of syria, more robust action than what has been suggested, and as dennis said, it is effective, it is going to be an expensive proposition. it is going to cost as much as a couple of billion dollars.
it is going to expend a lot of u.s. military assets, and this comes against a backdrop of being on the cusp of a second year of sequestration of the defense budget, with a $52 billion additional sequester of the defense budget when the new fiscal year hits, unless there is a deal by january 1, which will make it extremely difficult for the department of defense to plan rationally for the next time, which could include the iranian case. and in which certain military tools that might be useful in a military strike on iran to be expended. this is already against a back round of a circumstance in which sequestration has forced on the administration a choice that secretary hagel and the vice chairman described between capacity and capability as it
tries to deal with the consequences of sequestration. i do not want to get into the debate about which is right or not, but you are talking about a military whose readiness is being degraded and having to carry out what will be a complex military operation and how it will be enabled goes to one of the core recommendations we make which is we need to seek certain military activities going on with parallel efforts to make successful. >> the best solution is whether or not we have credibility in what we say we would do if iran goes beyond certain red lines. and how to we do that in a sense at this stage of the game, given what clearly seems to me has been an impact in the arab
world, not a positive impact of what has happened. i came back two weeks ago and i was astonished at how completely upset they were about the attitude of the united states and the behavior of the united states. so what can the united states do in terms of public opinion here and in terms of what we can do militarily? that would in some way or another give enough credibility to the fact that we will act or react to what we come to the conclusion is going on in iran, that persuades them to come to a different conclusion that it seems to me that they are going to now. >> first, i accept that we are where we are in terms of perceptions, but i would, as someone who is doing a new book that also involves a fair amount of looking at america's historical posture in the middle east, i am struck by the fact that this moment is not unique.
it is interesting at one point after the coup in libya in 1969, kissinger in his memoirs remarked at one point that every single one of our friends in the middle east, at the highest level, is sending messages to the white house about perceptions of our unreliability and we are not doing anything about it. it is not the first time that the perception has been the case, and what tends to turn things around is when we actually act and are seen as being effective. we have within our means to do that now. for all of the unease that we have been collectively feeling, if the congress authorizes, as it should and must, and if in fact we carry out not cosmetic,
but what are an intensive set of strikes, over a short time, that, if you listen to what secretary hagel was saying yesterday and what the chairman of the joint chiefs was saying as well, that actually degrades the capability of the syrian forces and this is seen throughout the region has the u.s. is now suddenly in the context of where the congress has actually authorized -- and in some ways it seems to me that even if the use of force is finite, you actually have an interesting situation i suspect where the president may feel the need, having gotten the authorization, to ensure that strikes are somewhat more intensive, are more effective, as a way of making not just a symbolic statement, but having a practical effect upon syria's ability to use their forces, that will send a message to the whole region and will also send a message to the iranians.
as i said, if you look at this, not the first time we have been in this position, and when the u.s. acts in a way that is seen as being effective, it changes those perceptions. >> it is the first time in which we're dealing with a country that is developing nuclear weapons and the capability of delivering, and that is not going to be an actual act of warfare, it is going to be something that is handled fairly secretly within however iran is going to do it. we do not have quite the same kind of clear guidelines that we can rely upon here. how do we persuade them not to go too far when we do not know exactly where they are and we do not know exactly where they are going? what will be credible at this stage of the game? i was going to ask everybody the same question anyhow. >> i will start. it seems to me this is where
there are a number of things that we can do and by the way, all of these fall in what i describe as the diplomatic realm hurt quite apart from how you posture your forces, and also by the way what eric was getting at, if we were to do something to address this issue, i would be another way to send a single that we are meeting what we say and preparing the ground. one way to prepare the ground is for us to go to the other members of the five plus one and make it clear we are very serious about diplomacy, but we also need to plan for the day after. the more you begin to do that, the more you're sending a message. you are not just focused on diplomacy. you want it to work, but the fact is if you have to use work against the nuclear program that will not end the nuclear diplomacy, because you will want to engage in diplomacy, you will want to make it difficult for the iranians to build, and that
is why maintaining sanctions is important. there is no doubt remaining that we want to pursue a diplomatic path. there is some disagreement about what the character of that proposal would be, and i come back -- this gets to what you're asking -- one reason you want to put a proposal on the table that shows the iranians could gain what they want, which is to say all they want is civil nuclear power, if you put a proposal on the table that would enable them to have civil nuclear power, that is seen as being credible by much of the international community, and the iranians turn it down, then you have exposed them, internationally, domestically as well. that puts the president in a different position to go to the american public and say the last two presidents have said they cannot have this capability. i have said it consistently.
we have offered them a way to get out, a proposal that allows them to have exactly what they say they want and they have turned it down because it turns out that is not what they want, they want weapons, and that will not be permitted. that would be part of how you get addressed the question you raise. >> if i could chime in for a second before john and other colleagues. when we announced this panel in june, we had an event, and i cannot remember which panelist made a point, but i will appropriate it. that plagiarism is the highest form of flattery -- [laughter] the point was that people who think iranians do not pay attention to red lines have not been paying attention to the
iaea quarterly reports, because the red line that prime minister netanyahu said for the amount of 20% low enriched uranium that the iranians produced has been consistently avoided by them because they have been transforming some of it into oxide for the tehran research reactor. when there is uncertainty about whether the red line will be upheld, it modifies their behavior. that is another argument why to fail to go forward now with the red line that has been drawn on syrian chemical weapons use would have disastrous cuts wants of ussequences for those who kill stink -- still think diplomacy have a chance of being successful if it is underpinned by credible threats. >> there are more commerce historians on this panel then mean, but in 1969 and what
followed is a bad time for the united states in the middle east and more broadly in the world. if we are in that kind of posture in 1969 where the american order looks to everybody else like it is unraveling, we are in a very serious situation that needs to be addressed. i think that is where your question goes to, because otherwise disaster strikes. the arab oil boycott, the 1973 war, the war, all kinds of awful things can happen, the start of the retreat from vietnam. i agree that there are certain parallels in what is happening in the world today, in the basic sense that people out there who have relied on us since world war ii, that the system, the order that the united states established and enforced is beginning to unravel at some level. and people are really beginning
to start to make calculations based off of that, and for me, example number one is the saudis and what bandar is doing i can understand how aggressive they've gotten in certain areas. the trip to moscow worries me because there are serious things happening in that relationship that would not have happened were it not for the absolute collapse of faith in the united states, and while there may be good things that can come out of it for the saudis to be off on their own, a lot of bad things can come out of that as well potentially. but that is the kind of uncertainty that we are dealing with in the system that i think has led to quite a bit of trouble. i agree in the first place that syria now takes on this huge
importance in terms of trying to convince the iranians that we are serious. i think that operation is now going to need to be something that perhaps the president and his team did not think a couple of weeks ago it might have needed to be. it will now need to have real effects on syria and on other adversaries in the region, that they do not want to test the united states in this regard. i do not disagree with dennis. i think the timeframe for the iranians approaching some kind of nuclear weapon cap capability is fairly short, and people would put it in the middle of 2014. that is a short time. i agree that we have to test this fairly quickly. they have to try as part of our strategy to get to a bottom line very quickly. i do not know if the iranians will allow us to do that.
i do not know if the p-five plus one will allow us to do that. this has got to be to get international support and domestic buy-in here, for any chance of it to succeed against the iranians, it will have to be a serious proposal, different than what has been put on the table before, and i am willing to sign up for a very restricted capability that dennis has talked about, provided that if in fact that our strategy has to be in like 1991 in saddam -- baker says this is the final proposal, and if he rejects it and you have a clear system for determining that he has rejected it, in days bombs start falling, things start happening.
i'm not sure we can put together that kind of proposal and get buy-in from it, not only from the people, but from the international community. at the same time they go through some serious diplomacy to get to a bottom line fairly quickly. we have got to be pedal to the metal on the separate pressure track. i would not -- i agree with a lot of people in congress who believe that congress needs to be going forward with new sanctions that really threaten to bring this economy to the verge of collapse and at the time we need to be doing all of the military things that we need to do both alone and with our allies that we would do if we were really serious about undertaking a fairly significant military strike against iran within the next six months to a year.
>> on the issue of red lines, i think that clearly and credibly trying red lines is one of the most important things that governments do in the conduct of international relations. and when they do a bad job of it, the consequences could be really dire. i think a lot of historians believe that we had to fight the korean war because of a speech that suggested we were not prepared to fight to defend korea. a lot of other people believe that we had to fight the first persian gulf war because our ambassador had a meeting with saddam hussein and which saddam hussein came away thinking that the u.s. was not prepared to fight to defend the independence of kuwait. in both of those cases, when the independence of those countries was threatened, the united states thought thought about it
and decided it was repaired to fight. historians debate whether had the u.s. done a better job drawing the red lines more clearly, we could have avoided those wars, and i do not know if we will ever know the real answer. i am prepared to say that i wish it would have been more clear because it would have been nice to avoid fighting those kinds of wars and i am troubled about where we are on iran today, because i do not think united states has been very clear clear on what its red lines are. we talked about the ambiguity and the difference between producing a nuclear weapons and achieving nuclear weapons capabilities. the administration has been on both sides of that issue in terms of their declaratory policy. asserting something like all options are on the table is not a clear red line. that is pretty ambiguous about what you're prepared to fight for.
i have to give credit to prime minister netanyahu. he literally drew a red line at the un security council. lo and behold, iran has sort of done backflips to avoid crossing that red line. netanyahu, i guess, holds credibility with the iranians. that is what you have to take away. i worry about u.s. credibility. you know, president obama drew a red line with regard to chemical weapons used in syria, and the assad regime stepped over that line. i sense some reluctance on president obama's part to enforce the red line. congress is going to vote on this now. what is he going to do if congress votes no? i served on the first bush administration. i was a lawyer handling the war
powers issue for the first president bush. he was pretty clear that he was giving congress a chance to authorize it and our nation would be strengthened. he made the case that he thought saddam hussein was more likely to back down and we could avoid having to fight a war if congress authorized us to potentially fight a war. congress accepted that argument. but bush was pretty clear that he deployed hundreds of thousands of u.s. armed forces to saudi arabia -- he was clear that he was going forward no matter the outcome in congress. so it was not critical to what ultimately was going to happen. the obama administration has been conspicuously silent on what it will do if congress fails to grant the authority that the president has requested. we do have a precedent here. in the united kingdom, they voted no, and the prime minister said good luck. is that what obama will do if
congress votes no? i do not know what obama will do. he has not been as clear as president bush was about his commitment to proceeding your irrespective of what congress does. going back to the red line, the iranians are trying to assess how determined the u.s. government is to prevent them from achieving a nuclear weapon. things could play out pretty badly on syria in a way that would reinforce doubts in tehran about how serious the united states is and how much they have to worry about the military option on the u.s. side. >> there has been a great deal of apprehension and the arab world about the seriousness of the united states in terms of its willingness to play the leadership role in that part of the world.
so this is going to compound that concern until we find ways to clarify that in ways that make it really clear. >> i will get into the historical part. on the red lines, there is a lot of suggestion about the syrian red line. it was mentioned that three american presidents have suggested that iran in possession of nuclear weapons was unacceptable. three american presidents have drawn various red lines that have been transgressed with a large degree of impunity. in the summer of 2012, the u.s. policy was that -- they had a slogan for it. [indiscernible] ship of at least 20% fuel. that is probably not our policy today. it is probably, in any forthcoming negotiation, that is unlikely to be our policy. you can suggest that that
particular red line was unreasonable. well, then do not draw it. if you think your red line is unreasonable and unsustainable, then do not draw it. and do not attach a slogan to it. so the syria red lines are important, but there have been lots of red lines on iran that have come and gone. on the historical issue, reasoning through historical analogy is always imperfect and too often imprecise, so here i go. if you kind of look -- i agree with dennis, it looks like the 1960's, and that is kind of a gray thing. the middle east is a region that has a habit of constantly dividing against itself. in the 1950's and 1960's, there was a division. you see a similar division today, but the basis is a far more entrenched
and ideological division. there is iran and the resistance. this is what the iranian commander said yesterday, syria is part of a larger front of resistance. therefore, it has to be thought of along those terms. hezbollah, iran, syria, mobilizing against the sunni bloc. the region is divided. the region has been divided before in the 1960's. then it was to buttress its allies. also, with very close u.s.- israeli relationship which is beneficial to all the of the relationships the united states had in terms of its allies and in terms of deterring its adversaries. today, the u.s.-israeli relationship has worked its way through its own growing pains. the united states, for reasons i
do not always understand, is less inclined to be involved in middle eastern conflicts and rivalries. war fatigue. there is a propensity of this, and we are probably learning the lessons of the iraq war now. there is less inclination on the part of the american public, therefore the u.s. government, to be involved in the middle east. i think president obama's position on the middle east is contested in the capsule, and i think it is largely unassailable in the country. if president obama goes to st. louis, chicago, san francisco, los angeles, and seattle, he will get criticism for his reticence. and the president has actually invited that popular reticence by suggesting that east asia is where the future lies and the middle east is where old conflicts simmer.
all these things have to be taken into consideration as one thinks about iran policy. i will say one last thing. we really need an iran policy, not just a proliferation policy. we need to figure out how to negate iran's influence in the region, how to weaken the iranian regime at home. if you have a broad-based policy, it will fit in there. you kind of negotiated arms control agreement with a country that you are accusing of sponsoring terrorism and your capital at the same time. i mean, you're negotiating measures on the nuclear issue with a country that you are your attorney general insights in your capital. we need an iran policy. all these pieces kind of fit together.
>> let's spend a couple minutes before opening the panel to questions to the audience on two things that might give us more credibility. one is to go after iran's financial energy and other economic matters, that we can take a much tougher line on. that might have a message to be conveyed. the other is, what can we do with respect to israel to give them certain kinds of weapons like the tankers, air-based tankers, to give them greater range and greater military credibility? netanyahu, for the moment, seems to have credibility. how would you all feel on these kinds of issues? >> i think one of the recommendations in the report, of course, is that, with regard to the sanctions that are already on the books, that we stop giving out as many passes to peoas the president can,
because there is waiver authority in the legislation, but we need to stop giving people waivers and force them to actually go forward with the sanctions that are already on the books. i agree with john, i think there is more we can do on sanctions. i think if i were in the obama administration -- i do not think they would necessarily welcome me, but if i were in the administration, i think i would actually be not unhappy with voices being raised in the congress trying to push for harder sanctions. that is something that i think they can use. with regard to assurance and reassurance to israel, underpinning the already existing credibility that netanyahu has in tehran, in an earlier iteration of this panel we recommended certain military capabilities be made available to israel.
congress actually took that up in some measure. as far as i know, they still have not been transferred. there certainly are things that can be done. i think there are things we can be doing to do more visible testing. certain military capabilities we have, thinking of the massive ordinance penetrator which would almost certainly be involved in any kind of attack on the iranian nuclear program to which i think would have a very powerful, demonstrative impact on calculations in tehran. i think there are certainly things that can be done. >> i pretty much agree with what eric said. you can see that if negotiations take place with the iranians, i can see the negotiations not necessarily adding to the sanctions but being able to point to congress and say -- look, unless there is going to
be an agreement, this is what is going to happen. the fact is -- the sanctions have obviously had an effect on the iranians. that is why he was elected. i think there is a logic to that. there is also a logic for transferring additional capability to the israelis. there has been a lot done already, and i think that is something that is positive from our standpoint and sends a message from our standpoint. i have suggested that we should have a demonstration and put it
on youtube, let it go viral, let the iranians see it. this is a capability that was developed basically to deal with them. a 30,000 pound bomb. you know, these are the kind of things that would be helpful. i still think, at this point, given where we are with syria, the most important thing right now is to act on the red line and do it in a way that is seen as an effective and meaningful and serious. the other thing we just discussed at this point would be less important than that. in fact, if you try to do those things, it will be looked at as a kind of very limited compensation that is not very credible. in the context of doing that, i think a lot of other things you do, even things that would be less important, will be taken as much more serious. >> john? >> i agree, sanctions have been surprisingly effective and have helped bring us to where we are. i think the only debate is --
and yes, we can easily identify additional measures with regard to sanctions and with regard to transfers to israel of useful military items. the only question is whether we should persist with continuing to move in that direction or whether we should declare a pause because we are pleased that rouhani has been elected and we want him to become an negotiating partner. on that issue, it is clear we need to continue and not take a pause. the pressure that has brought us to where we are should continue to be applied and it should be increased to the extent we can increase it to it we should not hesitate to do that for fear it will complicate the negotiations. on balance, over time, it will strengthen our hand in those negotiations. >> ok, thank you all very much. let me open the floor to questions. shall we start over there?
>> [inaudible] the russian quasi-alliance with both iran and syria -- it is not clear to me and i wonder what you all think about if we are more successful in following through on syria, whether we would throw russia and iran closer together, making it harder for us to have a more effective policy? related to that is the question about whether this whole p5 plus one structure serves our interests or serves to undermine as. i think it is curious that congress has been much more active on the sanctions issue against iran than the administration. the administration would essentially follow through with
halfway measures, much less than congress would authorize. on the p5 plus one, i think it is -- [inaudible] >> actually, i think effective action to enforce the red line against syria would actually undermine russian-iranian relations, rather than strengthened them. in the sense that, notwithstanding all his culminations, i do not think there is very much that president putin can or would do to actually get in the way of u.s. military action. i think that would send a very powerful message to tehran that russia's backing, when push comes to shove, might not be effective in keeping the united states from acting. we now know them captured
documents that saddam hussein believed that support for both france and russia, in particular, were going to keep him from having to face u.s. military force in 2003. that turned out to be a terrible miscalculation from his point of view. again, if we do something, and i want to associate myself with what dennis said, if we do something that is not cosmetic but is serious and seriously degrades syria's ability to operate its military forces, hit some of the pillars of the regime. i mean, we should not forget that this is a regime that is rooted in the air force. that is the service from which the current president of syria's father comes. if we are able to essentially ground that air force, keep it
from flying, that will have a very powerful impact. in the first session we had in june, i made the point then that we really are engaged now -- and this goes to a number of points that were just made, it is a struggle for mastery and the region with iran being one of the protagonist. the syria issue has to be seen in that light as well. i think effective action would do more to drive moscow and tehran apart than ring them together. >> i would like to add one quick point to that. you know, you could see some sort of tactical moves, and i would not dismiss that. i do not think the iranians have a lot of belief and the russians to begin with. the real question i think here is from the russian standpoint
putin has positioned himself on syria so he looks like he is the key actor. everybody has gone to him. i think for us to act, and i think the president has also said that he would do more to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition, at least those in the opposition would be prepared to support. i think the more we do in terms of degrading the syrian capabilities and the more we do in terms of at least getting serious about providing support to those within the opposition that we think are deserving of it, that has a chance to affect the balance of power, not only between the opposition and the regime but within the opposition itself. that creates a very different set of incentives for the russians. right now, you know, they have very little incentive to change their behavior.
so to the extent to which we are acting in a way that makes it clear that it is time for change and the russians have did decide what to do. they can decide right away, but it creates a different kind of incentive for them. they can think of a solution without assad, which is not what they have been prepared to do up until this point. as to the larger question, on one hand, it is a very useful international mechanism for us because it adds to the sense that there is broader support for what we are doing. i think the question has always been -- what is the point at which preserving the unity of the p5 plus one comes at the cost of what you're trying to do vis-a-vis the iranians? that is something you constantly have to be re-assessing. >> one of the panelists mentioned before that the situation in the mideast reminds
him of the 1960's. for me, watching this for decades, it reminds me of the byzantine chinese opera. gentlemen, can any of you gentlemen, can any of you address the situation vis-a-vis turkey in all of this? whether it be iran, syria, or egypt and how this vibrates. >> the difficulty of addressing turkey is turkey is implicated in so many of these issues, obviously, as your question suggests. i did not want to take the rest of the time to actually go through it all. on syria, just suffice it to say that for better, for worse, for the moment the government of turkey and the united states government are on the same wavelength about the importance
of, as the president said two years ago, assad departing the scene. i think there has actually been some impatience on the part of the turks about how willing the united states was to actually make that happen. and also, unfortunately because, in addition to other things that have happened, turkish foreign policy has taken a much more sectarian turn over the last year or so as the no enemies with neighbors policy as sort of fallen apart. they have been perhaps more adventurous than they should have been in support for some elements of the sunni opposition, including al nusra. in a longer run, that will put us at odds with turkey over the future of syria as opposed to the present.
>> i have two questions. one, i am a little confused about -- does this work? i am confused about what exactly is the consensus of the group with respect -- [indiscernible] is there a consensus about this? it sounds like there is still disagreement about it. if so, i wonder what the preponderant view might the. [inaudible] a second brief question, is there any view with respect to the syrian crisis, whether iran should be included in any future
diplomacy with respect to how to end the war in syria? >> well, i think there is a consensus on prevention being through an objective. i think there is not a consensus on what is the right kind of proposal. you know, and i sort of outlined one view which is that you could a credible offer on the table, that either the iranians can respond to and accept it because they say they only want civil nuclear power or you expose them and they turn it down. that would involve a limited enrichment capability on their part. there is a disagreement on the part of some on the panel as to whether that is the right way or
not. as for the quo, i mean, they would get sanctions lifted, at least the sanctions related specifically to the nuclear program. as for whether they should be part of the political process on syria, my answer would be no. >> i think within the group there is agreement on the characterization that we should put forward that syria's credible proposal advances u.s. interests if accepted. there is the question of enrichment, whether zero enrichment, which is been the position up until now, should remain our position or whether we should show some modest flexibility on that.
dennis has been on the side of showing some flexibility. others, like myself, would prefer to keep the current position of making a proposal that would allow no enrichment. again, that has to do with our perceptions. >> [inaudible] >> we have not taken a vote, so i do not know with the answer to that question is. >> i hear you, but nothing that you said convinces me that we are going to do anything until the first missile is in the air or land on israel. would you comment on that? i hear what dennis says. i think sanctions are great. but i think this is where we are going. >> i do not know that that is something we can actually debate here. but i could say that this panel probably would not exist if we were not concerned that if there is an action, that we could end
up essentially where you are describing. we are suggesting policies to help us avoid that outcome which we agree is totally unacceptable. >> good answer. >> in yugoslavia, libya, afghanistan, we demonstrated that air power can affect regime change. syrian regime apparently, according to reports, was in the process of getting the upper hand in the civil war against the opposition. what do you think is the calculus of the regime to deploy chemical weapons when it was in the face of a very strong president, allies, and potentially invites the type of things that are being contemplated now -- what do you think were their calculations?
>> you know, i think i will go back to a point that steve made earlier about red lines, how they are drawn and how they are enforced. my observation of syrian behavior to mind others on the panel may have different views, has been that there has been over a two-year period that the conflict has intensified and grown more violent, that the regime itself has been very carefully and in a very calibrated way pushing the envelope. at first you saw airstrikes and use of scuds against civilian populations and small-scale use of chemical weapons that could be denied or fudged. and a slightly larger scale until you got what we saw a week or so ago. and i think this goes to the whole issue of, you know, how do you draw a red line and how do you enforce it? the perception on the part of the regime in damascus that no
matter what it did, it kept going and kept being able to get away with it because there would be pious enunciation's from the community and the united states but nothing would happen, i think it has emboldened more and more action. it is one of the reasons i think it is essential that the authorization for military force be approved by the congress and that the president execute it. >> i am not -- so the perception there are experts who have the perception that even after they took someone, they have quite the momentum that you described, that they were on the verge of winning this war. there was a lot of reporting that they were having a terribly difficult time in these suburbs in eastern damascus that they had basically thrown everything at it conventionally, had not been able to dislodge the force that was being fed through a rebel pipeline coming up through jordan, heavily funded by the
saudis who had serious heavy weaponry beginning to come through. it was in that context. being worried about the capital and what the rebels would do, they cannot get them out of these neighborhoods. the military decision was taken to throw them out and quite a large way. i think i would have to go back and read the transcript. there was a remarkable admission by secretary kerry yesterday in which he basically said -- well, why would they have not used it? the international community has said this is a redline. the united states has said this is a red line. yet, they have used used it a multiple number of times now. not once or twice or three times last spring but repeated use on smaller scales of cw. at the end of the day, this is what tyrants do.
larger powers, the question their credibility, if they are not willing to enforce it, they tell their people that nobody is going to come to help you. we're going to crush their well. at the end of the day, these are wars of will and morale. and assad telling these people and the entire syrian population that no one is going to help you, you are finished. there is not a damn think the united states can or will do about it. >> i think we will end this by quoting something from my home country of canada -- if you are going to try cross-country skiing for the first time, pick a small country. do not pick the united states of america. well, this issue is going to be a huge issue coming forward.
i think we could not have found a better group than the people of this panel. i want to thank them all for what was a very illuminating dialogue. thank you all very much. [applause] >> i want to thank the panel. as you can see, we could together a really excellent group here. obviously this is a pivotal time for both u.s. national security interests in both the middle east, and i hope you return here as we continue to address these issues going forward. thank you very much for attending. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> earlier today, vice president biden joined a farewell ceremony for janet napolitano who is leaving her post to become president of the university of california system. here is a look. > and woe the man that suggests somehow that there is not a single female student that anything a male student can do. [laughter] eric, i'm with you. i have two granddaughters coming along and i am running out of all of my old friends. janet, i am glad you have stepped into this slot. , -- look, there is not a
lot of people we have worked with that possess the qualities and abilities that janet possesses. one other thing that was mentioned, you have incredible character. that is why people trust you. you have character. you have character. my mom used to have a saying. couragedefined by your and you are redeemed by your loyalty. knows you possess both of those qualities. the courage to take a chance and risk being wrong because you're quite sure you have have to do what you did in order to get it right. that is a quality that is not in short supply but is badly
needed. i will not mention his name but you and i both remember a democratic candidate that got by ain the state of texas very tough republican opponent that became my friend. there are two things you need to know about my opponent. thanr one, he is smarter you and he is mere than a junkyard dog. there are two things you don't know about janet. youis probably smarter than and she is probably tougher than you. that, you can take full advantage of everything she brings to the table. bright lady and your intellectual capacity is better than everyone i work with. i said i was going to say this, don't make news. [laughter] look. look, i told the president on
two conditions. i am not wearing funny hats and i am not changing my brand. he knew what he was getting. here is the deal. on the janet should be supreme court of the united states. [applause] and that not only speaks to the qualities i mentioned about your character but your intellectual capacity, your depth, your knowledge. all of it has added to your ability to do the job. with one of my favorite irish poets, yates. where man's glory most begins and ends and say my glory is that i had such friends. janet.a good friend,
i really admire the job you did and i am thankful for you helping us get through a pretty rough patch. outfitve in place an taking like a watch and working well. we owe you. governor or director or whatever you want to call her napolitano. you can watch the entire event later tonight on c-span or any time online. >> only the most willful desire to avoid reality can assert that this did not occur as described or that the regime did not do happen and the assad regime did it.
i remember iraq. secretary hagel remembers iraq. general dempsey remembers it. remember a rack in a special way because we were here for we are especially sensitive to never again ask any member of congress to take a vote on faulty intelligence. our intelligence community has scrubbed and re- scrub the evidence. we have declassified unprecedented amount of information and we asked the american people and the rest of the world the judge that information. >> john kerry and chuck hagel from the hearing nonserious starting saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. on book tv, laura looks at the impact of foreclosures and evictions in african-american
communities. three's american history tv, we look at the 1953 murder of and it till. the commission on presidential debate is already starting to plan the next set of debates for 2016. we will take you behind the scenes of the chairman at the commonwealth of california to discuss the history and the future of presidential debates. this is a little more than an hour. >> good evening and welcome to this meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know. president of the dominican university of california, a member of the
commonwealth club and the moderator of today's program. you can find us online or download the iphone and android apps for information and podcasts of past programs. is my pleasure to introduce a very interesting and relevant program. the nonpartisan nonprofit commission on presidential debates that sponsored and debates since 1987, planning is underway for 2016. even though we think of these debates as a regular part of the american political scene, few people understand their history or appreciate their scope and influence. a few facts might provide perspective. presidential debates are every four years and one of the most watched television programs in the u.s., usually behind only
the super bowl and one of the most-watched programs in the world. there are around 70 million viewers for the debates. it is easy to assume the debates have been with us since the lincoln douglas debates, at least sent the -- since the infamous nixon kennedy debate. even the assumption that debates will always be held is a fairly recent and refreshingly theyrtisan event here in celebrated their anniversary just last year. finally, the debates are an inspiration to emerging democracies around the world. the commission works with developing democracies. we will talk about all of these things. about upcoming debates and we might hear a few stories from
our distinguished guests. it is my distinct honor to introduce mike mccurry and frank. they are seasoned veterans of the clinical scene. mike is totally most familiar to us from his time serving as press secretary. in addition to that very public role, he served in a range of positions since 1984. in addition to working with the u.s. department of state and such notable and significant leaders, a graduate of princeton university and a georgetown university. he provides counsel on communication strategies and management to corporate and nonprofit clients. frank is also an old washington
hand. his most visible roles have included serving chairman of the political party. he was present at the creation of the commission on presidential debates, founding this effort with the political with the chairman. he is a graduate of the university of nevada reno. he is current president and ceo of the american gaming association. i will get it started and let you take it from there. gentlemen, you clearly do not see eye to eye on most political issues and you lead our to bleep the most successful nonpartisan effort in the nation, if not the
world on the commission for presidential debates. tell us a little bit about how that happened. how these fundamentally opposed visions of the future came together. >> i will start since i was there at the birth. as you pointed out, most people do not realize that we went 16 years from the nixon-kennedy debate to the next presidential debate. there was no way and in johnson would've allowed him to get on stage. after richard nixon's experience in 1960 debates with kennedy, he also was not interested in debates. it wasn't until jerry ford was appointed president and was running against jimmy carter that there was debates. it started and was handled by the league of women voters. four years later, most people do not realize i was at the first debate in baltimore. it was ronald reagan and john anderson, a congressman from illinois. jimmy carter refused to
participate. anderson was invited because the league of women voters said you had to be 15% in the polls. he was at 16%. jimmy carter said he would not debate. by the time the second debate came around, carter and reagan had their only debate. that's really began the takeoff point of the debates. then in 1984, there was a great deal of controversy with the media. the candidates were given the right to veto the choice of moderators. in those days, they normally had a moderator and maybe three or four reporters who asked the questions. the two candidates detailed over 90 reporters. following that, there were two independent studies done. one was at the institute of politics.
the other was at the center for strategic studies in washington. both of those committees were studying not just the debate process, but how we elect our presidents. both of them independently came to the conclusion that there should he created an entity that exists for one purpose, to conduct general election debates every four years. as a result, we created the commission in 1986. we began our run with the first debates and have done every debate since. >> that is the history, but i think what is behind that history is really important. there were two national party chairs. i predecessor is the cochair of the commission.
he basically said, it is in the interest of the american people for us to set aside our partisan difference as democratic chair and republican chair in order to establish any kind of commission that will guarantee the american people get a look at the major candidates for president, whoever they may be and not favor one party or the other party. it is face to face encounters. that was probably a bipartisan act, but it was in fact, a nonpartisan act. something that is so rare in the culture of our politics now. i can't imagine getting together on anything these days. i think savoring that moment of history in which people did something right for the interest of the whole country is
something we celebrate. the result of that is these debates have become more or less institutionalized. as frank said, it was not a given that they would debate. i think now, over time, i but he had a conflict. >> i have been on both sides of this. i know a little bit of the mischief that goes into this. but now, in 2012, very quickly agreed to all of the debates that we have planned and proposed and said, you pick the dates and the format and we will show up. i think that is an extraordinary
achievement. it goes to frank and his counterpart. >> it sounds trite, but this is true. we said 25 years ago that i would never wear an rnc hat. he would never wear a dnc hat. we would always wear usa hats. we kept that pledge, i think, and that is why we are still here. >> i would like to follow up a little bit on the usa hats part. an area that i don't think everyone is aware the commission is involved in and that is what the commission does in off years. they are very visible during the years of presidential election area there is a tremendous amount of work that goes on in using the debates to reach out to other countries when it is a nonpresidential year. can you talk about that? >> that to me just describe a great occasion we had last week. people say, your only busy once every four years so what you do
the rest of the time? we have a very committed staff and are in partnership with one of the organizations that helps promote a mocker see around the world. there is a counterpart group on the republican side that has helped us from time to time as well. last week, in partnership with the institute, we gathered together all of the people who are just like me and frank who are debate to mission is from 19 different countries. >> argentina, afghanistan, colombia, dina, nigeria, paraguay, trinidad, tunisia -- not a bad. >> they are all countries which have now institutionalized some form of debates for their leadership. now their situations are much
different. sometimes they do their work at gunpoint. and whether or not they will air what ever debates they have, it is extraordinary work and everybody came together to share their best practices. we actually learned some new things about techniques and formats from some of our partners around the world who participate in this. so the work of this commission now has gone global and we work with others who were in democratic societies who are trying to promote the idea that those who seek national leadership positions ought to get together to have civil discourse and dialogue and confront each other on issues that are important. >> it has gotten to the point that the eu will actually have residential debates.
i will be going over to europe in late september, meeting with all of the parties who will be involved in setting up the process. >> you recall in elections in the u.k. they had their first live televised debate. some of our staff went over to help with the technical aspects of this because in addition to the fact of getting things together, and there is enormous technical difficulties that go into putting these debates on. many older folks will remember that great debate where there was 17 minutes were gerald ford and jimmy carter -- the whole lights went out and everything went dark and they didn't have any clue what to do. >> pasted that for 17 minutes and didn't say a word to each other. >> we have guaranteed that will
never happen again. >> there is a certain symmetry in the worries of national discourse, which is serving as an international model. it must be an enormous challenge to bring these candidates together and ensure there is a format that is fair and nonpartisan. we talk about the enormous television audience. how do the candidates attempt to influence the format? >> that world has changed. when we started, we sit down with the campaign managers and it was called the debate over the debate. we would get in constant arguments back and forth.
the candidates started to sign documents. at one time, they came and said, you will sign this document and you'll get the moderators to sign the document. i told him very politely what they could do with the document. >> it wasn't very polite. >> that was the last time that we had contact. we choose the sites. we choose the dates. we choose the formats and we made major changes in the formats this last time around and we choose the moderators without any input whatsoever from the candidates. some of the media still to this day say that the parties are running the debates. we have no contact or nothing to do with the political parties. we are private entities. we don't get any money from the federal government. we have reached that point. it was two steps forward, one back.
but as mike said, both candidates, not a word. we will make some changes. for example, we have always believed the best way to do the debates is that a table. we have done a great deal of studies. we believe the nature and tenure of discourse changes when people are seated. podiums tend to be walls. four years ago, and two years ago, the candidates said they would like to do one debate with the podiums. we will allow them to have input around the margins, but not touch the tenure and real strength of the debate process. >> barack obama may have preferred -- >> he wasn't there. >> the important point here -- i have
worked in national campaigns and with president clinton when he ran for reelection in 1996 and a kerry in 2004. the campaigns want to tightly control everything about every single aspect of whatever public appearance the candidate is going to undertake. we basically take a position of if we build it, you have to come. we will accommodate you up to some point. -- to accommodate your interests, we will try to work with you. but the fundamental thing is to make sure we get something there that gives us that glimmer of insight, that moment where we see something about the character or quality of the candidate that really helps us make a decision.
a lot of people are obviously in a polarized position and know who they are going to vote for. but you get insights. you get something that triggers a moment where you say, i can see with that person would be like in the oval office. that is what we want. we want the maximum value from an educational point of view. that is what we do. we are open to how to do it that her. the evolution of these debates and change in the formats, we are constantly looking for ways to improve it. we are heavily impacted by all of the things that happen in technology and ways in which people interact with these debates through social media, the internet, things that have changed technologically.
>> we have a decision. as a commission, we're are going to be dealing with on election day, 40% of the american people are devoted. 42% of the american people have already voted on the election day. we have to face the challenge, do we move the debates back? rather than running them up to a couple weeks before the election? there are changes in technology ave to be sensite to to ma sure we are reaching enough people. my kids do not have home phones. they have cell phones. they don't watch the nightly news. it is a whole bunch of ads for old people. there is a two bathtub at. i am telling you.
they get on the computer. and mike has taken the lead on us with this. >> we are here in the heart of san francisco were high technology is an important part of the economy of this region. but how we use these debates to engage and interact that expects because of the in dash online experience to be interactive is a challenge. the format of these debates, we have all seen them. we have the eagle behind. it has become one of those institutionalized moments in our democracy like the state of the union or the other big moments that we have, but we have to hit the refresh button to make sure we are using technology and
reaching younger audience that prefers a young demographic eight team-29 that we want to engage. that is the challenge we are actively working on now. really trying to figure out how we will do a better job of the filling our obligation and our mission. >> they also have a few suggestions for you. >> not a surprise. i can imagine you meet anyone that doesn't have a few suggestions. one of the thoughts it is some concern that the debates are so visual that the commentary on them becomes about body language or whether the candidate seem to have slept well the night before. whether they are looking at their watch. one of the questions is can we go back to having one debate the radio, or radio and podcast. >> what we have tried to do is
we always there in mind that we are not electing the best debater. that is not e purpe. that is why using a number of different or mets were you could see the candidates present their case. there is no question that if you see somebody, let's face it. those people who heard nixon- kennedy on the radio all said nixon one. those people who saw on television said kennedy one because he came out with a great tan and nixon look like he hadn't shaved in three weeks. that is always a part of it. i think the visual is very important. there is one thing i have learned having done 26 of these things. the american people want to like their president. i have a theory and i have talked to mike about this. the television lens is very interesting. some people can go right through that lens like that are.
you have people like ronald reagan and bill clinton, president obama. other candidates hit the lens and they bounce off. they cannot get through for some reason. they have trouble communicating. if you are going to be a leader, you have to be able to communicate and get through the lens. i have always felt that doing a series of different formats, televising them, and lots of people do listen on the radio. a lot of people listen on radio or listening and streaming, whatever they may do. i think that is the best way for people to make up their mind and their determination as to whether or not they can see that person being in the oval office, being a leader, standing up to other leaders around the world, whatever it may be. i hear the argument. i hear the argument. there may be some credibility, but i still think the way we do it is best. >> one of the things we have learned from research is people
here commentary and they hear all the analysis. their positions begin to be affected by what they hear in the commentary after the debate. there are some studies that indicate if you put people in the room and asked them to watch and listen to the debate and then record their opinions, it is much different than what ever they thought coming out of it. i thought about that a lot. it is practically impossible to say that people do not tweet. just listen to these candidates. don't start arguing and expressing your own opinion until you've actually heard with these candidates have to say. that is practically impossible and would probably be undemocratic. we want a vibrant debate.
how do we get people to focus and listen and not just be consumed with the visual takes that are distracting. we all kind of know what those references are historically. how do we inc. through what these candidates are actually talking about what are they actually going to do once they are elected? that is what the debate ought to be about. how do you take these experiences as they come together? there should be a season of conversation. these debates are not isolated one time events. it begins a conversation that ought to continue as you move through the month of october and
into the election period. there is something there we have got to play with which it is not just about the visuals and that 90 minutes there on stage. it is about what flows out of them. frankly, we have work to do on that. the commission cannot compel candidates to show up and address the issue. a great example of this that is urgent right now is we had no discussion of global climate change in these debates. and what is the big topic today? global climate change. how do you get the substance of these debates to really help people informed and think about the choices we have to make as a country. that is the ongoing process and the work we have to do. >> there are several questions.
i had the opportunity to attend a denver debate last year. one of the things that struck me was the difference between what happened in the debate hall. could you describe what that looks like today and what it look like 20 years ago? >> i was part of the original. it was the first debate between ronald reagan. it took place in louisville, kentucky in the basement of the hall. underneath, we were watching the television. myself and a senator in nevada. we watched the debate. you may remember at the end of that debate, president reagan was wondering off.
it was not his strongest moment. the minute it was over, jim turned up the tv and looked at us and you could've heard a pin drop in that room. he said, we want now go out and tell the media we won. we had to go out and spin the media. now, it is ridiculous. it is what we call spin alley. each side has maybe 20 spokespeople. governors and senators and members of congress. they have people holding a sign up with their name on it so the media can see them in the crowd of people afterward. it has gotten to the point of being ridiculous. it is something i want to spend some time on between now and the 2016 debates.
mike is 100% right. what we did for a few years and we don't anymore, we used to have debate hardee's all over the united states sponsored by the commission. people would gather in libraries and there'd be a moderator that they would choose. the minute the debate was over, they would turn off the sound so you would not hear if it was sam donaldson in the old days or chris matthews or whoever it might be. there was a discussion about what they heard. we found it to be fascinating and very different from people who then hang on. the people who say they are experts every night i turn television on and they say here is a republican expert. i have never seen that person before and i have been around. he is usually 15 years old. it is amazing. >> let me tell you a great story
about the spin afterwards. in 1988, my assignment in the general election was to be the press secretary. if you remember the debate, it produced one of the most famous moments. but it was very interesting because those who were seated in the audience, including the senator's wife, came out of it saying, oh my gosh, we lost the debate because he was so mean to dan quayle. and their impressions from having been in there and watched it on stage was that this was angry. i was sitting with all my friends in the press and they were watching this. we then went back and if you recall the sequence, john f. kennedy was a friend of mine.
it is so famous, the camera was on dan quayle getting his expression. this frozen deer in the headlights. i told myself that if it had been reversed and if it had been on benson, the outcome of that moment might have been judged a little bit differently. the interesting thing was, all the people came out and said, how are we going to deal with what they thought was a bad moment, and i said, i think we just won the debate. a very complicated piece because people were asking, do you think senator benson was maybe a little too over-the-top with that? we said, we think it was clarified in some of the distinctions. the vice presidential debates are important and they produce
moments. it is more about the >> we did win that one if i recall. >> you did. >> that business of trying to go out and create commotion and commentary, the debate is out of hand now. there is no way to control it. you all are the ultimate arbiters. if you turn that off and turn and say let's look at what matters to us at citizens, that replaces the cacophony and tower of babel you here after the debate itself. >> we have a number of questions
about the moderators themselves. everything for more detail about how they are select it to what i think of as a sympathy question, could you just cut off their microphones if they talk over time. it down to fact checking candidates. >> i think the commission really owes jim an apology. the american people for so long have been been used to a format where the question would be posed of a candidate. he would have two minutes to respond the other candidate got one minute to respond and then there was a 32nd response and then they moved on to another subject. that has been pretty much the format for ever. we changed that. what we did is we divided the 90 minutes into six parts of 15 minutes. what we were looking for was to get more interplay, to have a debate, to have them go at each other and look at each other.
a lot of the debates and never look each other. jim's job was to get them started on one of the subject matters. we announce the subject matter. they knew. they were not getting cold turkey with what is the president of tristan. they knew it was going to be on healthcare. the plan was for 15 minutes. we wanted them to go at each other. they did. they went back and forth. a lot of people said he just let them go. he was supposed to let him go. he did exactly what we wanted him to. bob schieffer did the same thing. it is extremely important. the bigger question is how we choose the moderator. this time was difficult for us. we knew we were changing the format and we were going to
these 15 minute pods. it was very important that we have experienced people. if you talk to anyone who has moderated one of these things, they are shaking going into these things because there are hundred million people watching these things. we put jim at the front and bob schieffer at the back and then we went with martha radix in the middle. we always try to get diversity. it is hard. you have to go a long way in any of the networks with hispanics or blacks or men and women who really are exposed enough to do this job. this is a tough job. clearly, we have to find some younger people. it is a tough job. this takes out of play a lot of
people that are great print writers or would have other qualities and skills who would probably evoke some interesting positions. there is so much that goes into the theater of just running a live broadcast like that. you pretty much have to go to prominent broadcast journalist. they're working with that thing in their ear. that is hard. that said, we need to see and elevate people that represent the diversity. the important thing is it is not about the moderator, stupid. it is about the candidate. the candidates have got to show up. they have to -- show up. the quality of the debate is going to be if the candidates who are there can test with to
flesh out the opinions and the substance that matters. frankly if you get one candidate, i will not say that one failed to show up but he clearly had his honeymoon on his mind or something. >> his anniversary. i hope it wasn't his honeymoon. if it was his honeymoon he fooled a lot of people. part of the responsibility goes to the candidate. are we going to flesh out some of the differences that exist? >> a related question is the fact checking. should it happen? is it the parties role afterwords?
is it the media role? >> it is the candidate's role. if one of one of the candidate says something that is not consistent, it is the other candidates not the moderator to impose. then it appears as if they are being partisan to one of the candidates. >> i mildly disagreed. we are allowed to mildly disagree. i think candy was trying to move the program on. i think some people thought she unfairly interjected herself when she coroborated something that president obama was saying. her view was that she had to move into the next subject and she wanted to close off what she thought had become stagnant. it is a great example of we want moderators to get the candidates to engage. we do not want the moderators to be the subject of the debate after the debates. that is our goal. >> we did not want them to be
like the primary debates which became circuses. the republican primary debates were atrocious. to be fair when you have eight or 10 people on the stage, it is hard to have a debate. you are lucky if everyone gets to speak for three minutes. the networks made a fortune. you have the absurdity of having a debate on a saturday night in new hampshire followed by a one the next morning and new hampshire. -- in new hampshire. >> what the chairman said when he declared the debate atrocious >> there are also other noxious by the way. >> you can see the dilemma that we have. these are presidential debates.
there is an expectation that comes with that that elevates it beyond some of the more theater of the absurd that we saw on some of the primary debates. sometimes the primary debates were very entertaining. their purpose was to help republicans decide who they want to nominate. they may have helped clarify some things here and there. when we move to the general election, our commission only has responsibility for the general election debates. there is an elevation at that point. >> a number of the questions ask about the timing. there has been quite a bit of research on how voters get information. can you talk a little bit about the significance of the debates
and the actual decision-making process? does it actually influence the final decision? >> we know from polling that by the time you get to the general election, our debates started october 3. the last one was october 22. the number of undecided voters is smaller. they have been exposed to a long length of time, the primary phase of the campaign. because we are increasingly becoming very polarized, democrats know who they're going to vote for. the fastest-growing element has been independence. by the time you get to the october debates, there are very few that are truly undecided. there are probably quite a number of voters that are either ambivalent or are looking for
something that says i think this is my decision and i am looking for information that confirms my decision or makes me think again. i think that is the role these debates play. they provide in honestly importing glimpses into the personality, care to her, and abilities of the people we are to elect. that is part of a process. running for president of the united states is not like running for governor. we want americans to be personally engaged in the personality of the president. it is not like any other office. part of what these debates do is they solidify the relationship that the person we eventually elect is going to have with the american people. we do not have kings and queens. we have a president. relationship we have at the
present is a different one than we have with the other elected offices. >> the polling we have shown shows that 70% of the whole say the debates are a factor. it is not the only factor but it is a factor. numbersn change.the change dramatically after denver. not so much because the president was not at it best but because suddenly they saw the governors standing there debating the issues and appeared presidential. it is harder for a challenger to take on the incumbent.he appeared presidential. he knew the issues. it can change the views.the president had two more debates to recover. they are becoming more and more important.
when we were running ronald reagan for president we assumed that 40% of the people were automatically going to vote for the republican candidate. there were only 20% of the voters in play in about 25 states. that is where we concentrated. the numbers have changed. now more people are independent them belong to either party. there is a changing dynamic out there. it is very important, particularly with independent voters. >> we have a number of people that would like to hear personal stories. whether you quietly scored the debates yourself or whether you have times when you thought the candidate's were particularly themselves or said something
message to they might be? >> this is really interesting stuff. the first set of debates we did was michael dukakis and george herbert walker bush. bush is about 6'3". michael dukakis is about 5'10". every debate was behind a podium. the argument from the dukakis campaign was that if the podiums were the same size there would be governor dukakis looking we reach an agreement. we had to build the pitcher's mound under, behind his podium
so when he came out he stepped on the mound and therefore he appeared to be the same size. if you've ever been at one of these debates, it is very cold. it is about 65 degrees because you have the cameras and lights and so forth. i'm not going to mention who it was, but we have one candidate who is a sweater. he sweated all the time. he wanted to reduce the temperature to 58 degrees in the hall. we said we are not going there. we had another candidate who was getting bald back here. we have 7 cameras. he wanted to make sure we would not shoot him from behind. there are a million of these. i will tell you one more. we are running out of time. in 1992, we had three candidates. it is the only time because ross perot was involved.
historically we do these on college campuses. normally they do a draw in one and up. we do them in the gymnasium and one ends up in the men's locker room. that is where they go before the debate. the other goes in the woman's. in 1992, we were at washington university in st. louis. what were we going to do? there were three candidates. we had to drill a hole in the floor of the basketball arena and build a set there. you had to have restrooms and so forth. in came governor clinton with this guy with briefing books. in came president bush. he went into his holding room. we waited and waited and waited and ross perot did not come. so about 15 minutes before we went on air, i hear ross perot. "frank, what is this rule that says i can use charts and graphs?" he was joking.
he never went in the holding room. paul kirk and i went in and use the facilities. there we had to rebuild the floor. these are just little touches. one last one that hurts me. the first town hall meeting was in richmond. at that town hall meeting, i was seated in the chair of something like this. paul kirk was in the middle. there is a woman by the name of pamela who is on our commission. she had a delightful voice. we had in front of us a screen that showed what every television station was showing. president bush looked at his watch, every single screen showed it. pamela leaned over to me and said it is over. it turned out she was right.
>> as a longtime campaign operatives, i always would watch the debates in the holding room with other campaigns that we could keep score. one of the consequences of being an elder statesman as i have to sit with this guy now in the audience. in the first debate we just had in denver, frank and i go out at the beginning to tell people to turn off their cell phones. and always thank them. c-span airs that portion of it. it is fun to do. i am standing up there and looking down at the seat i'm supposed to sit in. i will not mention her name. she is a democratic congresswoman from denver. she plopped herself in my seat. where am i supposed to go sit now? >> i said you are on your own. >> i walked up in the back and
sat with the network guys. that was more fun to do anyhow. you can watch the way it looks on television. for someone like me, it is less what is going on in the hall and more what is going on for the 80 million americans who are watching this on television. there are a lots of moments that happened backstage. one of them, which i've seen happen a lot, it is one of the rare occasions that the two campaign staffs who are in mortal combat during this campaign season come together. it is always a refreshing opportunity. they get to meet their counterparts. there is a little bit of fraternizing. it is an opportunity for you to see the other team in action. i wish there was more. i wish we created more opportunities for them to have
conversation. the only other time they see each other is when they are squawking on television and yelling at each other. in the goal of creating more civil dialogue, we can create more opportunities for them to get to know each other a little bit at these occasions. >> one of the questions that is very relevant to the history of the debates is whether the dialogue has changed. we worry a lot about civil dialogue today. the lincoln douglas debates were famous for their links. do you think the last 24 years has seen a change in the dialogue or has be political dialogue beyond the debates changed? >> i think the change in format has changed the dialogue. one of the reasons we got rid of the panel of reporters was that reporter number one has taught long and hard about the question that he or she is going to ask
to show how brave they are to the american people and their constituents in the press corps. under the old rules, he or she would ask the question and they would have the two minutes, one minute, 30 seconds. maybe there needed to be a follow-up on that question. reporter number two has spent a lot of time on his or her question and does not want to waste the moment in the sun to follow because they have their own question. you did not get the follow-ups when you should. that is why we decided to change the format. i love this pod at 15 minutes on a subject where the moderator has the ability to let them go at each other. two steps forward, one back. i like the model we have now. we take a lot of ideas.
do not hesitate to contact the commission. go online to the website. be kind. we will be happy to hear from you. >> i really think in that time the quality of political discourse has really degenerated. no question about that. people are angrier. they use vocabulary that is more mean-spirited. they question motives. they routinely call each other liars. that is the most pejorative thing you can say in politics. when i first started working that was forbidden that you would ever use that word in connection with a colleague in the senate. the refreshing thing about these debates is that when two candidates have to sit there face to face it is hard for them to use that kind of language. and to use that kind of tone. you quickly get into it. they might be sharp in their
exchanges. they might look for moments where they try to crystallize what the differences are as. the soundbites that become so important in the coverage after the debate. they have to sit there and look like they're having a conversation about the country or we would all be offended. that is the importance of these debate. they forced the candidates to model some kind of behavior that inflects what we would want. the system the citizenship in a discourse about the future of the country. >> one of the problems we have in congress right now is that there is about 230 republicans, give or take. it is hard to keep track because people retire in special elections and so forth. of those 280, 93% of them were elected from districts by governor romney.
96% of them were elected in districts carried by president obama. that means if you are in the house and you are an incumbent, if you win the nomination, you are home free. these are so locked up because of gerrymandering that you are challenges really in the primary. if you are a republican you normally get run at from the right. if you are a democrat you get run out from the left. it pushes you into positions. there is no middle ground anymore in congress, particularly in the house. there are no more blue dog democrats or moderate republicans. they are gone. without the middle, there is no way to go forward here it these people do not know each other. i jokingly say the most dangerous place in washington is thursday night at ronald reagan airport. if you're not careful, you will be stampeded by the members
running for airplanes going home to campaign. they do not know each other. if you do not know someone, you cannot trust someone. if you do not trust them, you cannot go across party lines in the brave enough to face the criticism. it is tough. in this toxic atmosphere at least the presidential debates are out of there because of the very nature of how we asked richard them. it is up -- it is how we restructure them. it is up to them. >> a brief pause for our radio listeners. you are listening to the commonwealth radio program. our guests are here. they are cochairs of the
commission on presidential debates. we are discussing political discourse. i want to pick up on what you mentioned about the number of things that go right at these debates. i want to go back to the conversation about working with other nations. we hope there are some things we do in our democracy that are worth in the waiting. we worry that we have become too sure of ourselves. it does appear the debates are one thing we are getting mostly right, at least in the view of the rest of the world. can you talk a little bit about what he countries are most interested in learning the ways in which the debates are held from the process itself and whether you see it affecting their democracies? >> it is interesting.
their concerns in how our debates have evolved. they are unique to our political culture. it would be a little bit too much hubris to say we have this great model that you should emulate. they are all struggling with much more fundamental questions like how do we get national broadcast entities to air debates because the government in power can turn the power off and shut them down? how do we guarantee that the electorate will actually see them? how do we encourage leaders empowered to participate and face their opponents face to face? frank recounted the history in our system. that has not always been a given. the third thing is how do we create an independent structure like a commission like our mission on presidential debates that will have the integrity necessary to compel people to participate in these events.
they are looking at the fundamental building blocks of what it takes to encourage debate at the national level for national leadership. they do so in conditions of extreme violence and some places where the tensions of elections will spill over in the streets and people will die. if you read the news, you understand enough of the context. the most refreshing thing once said was that if we bring these debates in and let us see our leadership arguing about the future of the country it will save lives in the streets because the violence in and around our election will not spill out. that is a pretty profound comment on the importance of these kinds of encounters in any democratic society.
we always need to be careful about assuming the united states of america has the paradigm that everyone else should apply. what they are learning is how do we develop uniquely in our own political cultures models that will work and things that will encourage people to say we have to do this because this is what >>ally civilized societies do. what i will star off with is, look. do not try to emulate the united states. you have to come up with a system that fits your culture and heritage. for the past three presidential races, i have lectured at universities in china. in both beijing and shanghai. to try to get those students to understand the electoral college [laughter]
do not take our system as being a perfect system. you have to do it within the framework of your culture. that is the way to go. that is the approach always. >> and most of the societies they are dealing with parties listed on a national ballot. they have all kinds of different questions about who participate and how many and how do you structure it. it is refreshing to see how much innovation there is and how many interesting ideas and ways of handling certain things come out of some of these conversations, that frankly might inform the way we do our debates here. it is an important global dialogue. >> the last question, i am the president of a dominican university. the selection of the debate site
is not a small matter. >> i knew we were going to get to this question. >> it is not about the past. it is about why you choose colleges and universities as opposed to other sites. and whether this matters? when of the more dynamic economies is in california. why colleges and universities? what had a couple of debates in california in the past. >> it is mantra. we are involved in educational function. we just started that we would do this on university campuses. if you see what it does to a college community, it is just incredible. we have continued to do that. we try to get geographical balance. we try to do it in the west, northeast, south. it does not always work that way. sometimes the proposals do not meet the standards.
there are very strict standards on hotel rooms within a certain district. you will have 10,000 reporters there. it is a facility to take care of the reporters from all over the world but are there. you have to feed them. there are a lot of things that go into the process. in the final cut, when we sit down is the secret service. we normally get it down to about 10 or 12 places. the secret service goes with us. they have to know it is security, that they can lock it down. it is a very serious matter. whether it matters to a state i do not think so. used to be when i was chairman, where we going to hold the convention?
if we hold it in california, it will be california. party has it worked out. i do not think the location impacts that much of the voting that goes on in that state. we try to get that geographic balance. we went to a campus that had a brand-new multimillion dollar theater for the performing arts. it was state of the art. they still had to put in $500,000 worth of additional lighting and air conditioning because the demand of the cameras and the light when you're doing national television. there are a lot of intricacies that go into the choice. >> we actually have some students from the junior statesmen programs that are here. the young people are so excited. so idealistic. a lot of universities and colleges that sponsored the debates with us develop curricula and so their students study the history of debates and they get into it.
it is the idealistic element that you are going to get some sense of this is about the future of our country and here is the future and the students that are represented that makes the opportunity really refreshing. >> this is usually attributed to fdr but is attributed to others saying there is no higher calling than public service. i would like you to join me in thanking them [applause] >> great job. >> now to close. i am still the president of the dominican university of california. now this meeting is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> you hit today gamble with authority. -- that the gavel with the wordy. -- authority. >> earlier today, samantha power, ambassador spoke about the obama administration pushed for a military strike in syria. here is part of what she had to say. >> limited military action will not be designed to solve the entire syrian problem. not even the most ardent permits of intervention in syria leaves that peace can be achieved through military means. this action should have the effect of reinforcing our larger strategy for addressing the crisis in syria. by degrading a soft capacity to
deliver chemical weapons, it will degrade his ability to strike at civilian populations up by conventional means. ofaddition, this operation bind with ongoing efforts to upgrade the military capabilities of the moderate opposition should produce the regime's faith that they can kill their way to victory. andhis us, limited military strengthen our diplomacy and energize the efforts by the u.n. and others to achieve and negotiate settlement to the underlying conflict. a few thoughts and closing. i know i have not addressed every doubt that exist in this room, in this town, in this broader or in the international community. this is the right debate for us to have. we should be asking the hard questions and making choices before embarking on action. there is no risk-free, door number two that we can choose in this case.
public skepticism on foreign intervention is extremely healthy phenomenon in our democracy. a check against the excessive use of military power. the american people elect leaders to use a judgment and their times and our history residence have took hard decision to use words that were not initially popular because they believe our interest demanded it. --m 1992 when the busy , publicgenocide started opinion consistently opposes military action. even after we succeed in ending the war and negotiate a peace settlement, the house of representatives worth it -- reflecting public opinion voted against it. there is no question this deployment of american power save the lives and return stability to a critical region of the world.
we all have a choice to make. whether we are republicans or democrats, whether we have supported past military intervention or oppose them. whether would've argued for or against such action in syria prior to this point. we should agree there are lines in this world that could -- they cannot be crossed the limit on murderess actions. but that was a portion of ambassador samantha power's remarks. you watch the entire event tonight at 8 p.m. on c-span. or anytime online at www.c- span.org. >> trying to maintain family time and protect the privacy, edith roosevelt or just if that were treat called pine knot. >> she sought a place for rest
for the president. he could get out here as much as to be and far enough away in the wilderness. this was a family place. it'll still need for the roosevelt. -- it was unique for the roosevelt. hubbub of action. this was the one place where it was private, family time. they made it clear they do not want anybody but family here. but meet it -- >> meet edith roosevelt. looking at the public and private lives of the women who served as first lady, monday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span3 and on c-span radio and c-span.org. into the media coverage of the first ladies. instituteependent held its annual alcohol, tobacco and firearms party party.
party. [applause] a couple of housekeeping items. the folks from c-span are here so watch your mouth. they have the cable and other things so please be careful. we'll do some q and a hummel we have a microphone for folks to talk. if you're not giving your scorecards back to our front office, please do so because we have remarkable prices for the best and worst shooters. humiliating -- why don't we start off officially. am -- and i am thrilled to be here again. [applause] for those who are watching at home on c-span, this deserves a little explanation because for a
seeh of people watching to hicks shooting guns and tricking their, this a scary thing for , this- and drinking beer is a scary thing for them. here and what is called america thomas many of us enjoy the perks of adulthood. they include a beer every now and then and a fine cigar and sometimes out with friends out on the range. oft is why the idea drinking, smoking, and shooting as celebrated at annual alcohol, tobacco and firearms party. the lawyers would not let the joy and that's order. daschle will not let us enjoy it in that order. we started 11 years ago and was simply to celebrate the perks of adulthood.
grow continues to grow and and government reaches further and further into our private lives, adults need to take a stand and say you may not like what we do but this is what we do. ,f you do not like it tolerated. we'll leave you alone if you leave us alone. we do that and so many areas of our lives that is politically correct, what we are saying and these incorrect areas is we want the same kind of acceptance that many people now enjoy today. that's the purpose of this party. hats off in cheers to you for being part of the most politically incorrect party. how incredibly amazing is it being theve colorado showcase for the war on guns nationally. for those who do not understand what goes on in this state, it
has been one of the most remarkable. --. periods to see assault on our second rights. so many people my csa, what is the deal? it is risible unto you see what these are all about. -- it is reasonable until you see what did these are all about. it affects him was every magazine in colorado amex transfers among willing people that it may not have at all. my favorite example is in my hometown of boulder where a gun buyback program -- you know how they are. new laws bank have stopped that from happening because there was no way for these people to legally give up their guns and order for them to be destroyed. that is how bad these laws are.
the independent institute not only has done the work on what they work are and how but also now that they have passed, we are leading a lawsuit to overturn them in federal court. i want to introduce a couple of folks who made that possible. 62 out of the 62 sheriffs came out in opposition against these laws when they were bills. all of them. [applause] sheriffs are now plaintiffs on a lawsuit to overturn these unconstitutional laws. i think about the sheriffs. they do not apply. sheriffn and one female alston of a unison and said, nope. they do not have to. all a unisonriff,
and said, no. i want to introduce ken putname. standup. [applause] and by the way, this is what a colorado sheriff looks like. [laughter] .lso, we have john cooke [applause] this is what a sheriff is not supposed to look like. county --efferson excuse me, jeff. [applause] guys walk of these into a courtroom and say, these laws are unworkable so we cannot enforce them, please overturn them. has been debunked by
these gentlemen. you, jon. it is great to be here with atf. this is always one of my favorite events. they use to have a couple of years ago was, enjoy your freedoms while you can and while you can still enjoy them. i kind of laughed at that. i thought it was funny. it is no joke anymore. we do have to secure our freedoms. it is great to be here with second amended loving citizens. state want tothe make criminals. that is what the state wants to do. i am with you guys. i want to tell you a little story. i went on vacation up to montana and we were staying at glacier mountain park a few years ago. we decided let's going to canada.
and go into waterton national park. knowing canadian law, i left my gun that. when we pulled up to the border, the border guard asked me, do you own a gun or a handgun? he did not ask if i had it with me. he asked if i owned a gun? i say, of course, i am an american. [applause] of course i do. he proceeded to say if i pull you over and search, will i find it? he waved me through. i tell the story because it would not stand up and fight right now and if we do not pull a line in the sand and say a notice enough, colorado is going to look like canada and the united states might look like canada if we do not do an end to it. colorado is a test date for the rest of the country. it will collect them get away with it here in colorado, it
would not end. i believe in the near future if we do not stop, we will look like canada. let me kind of tell you where we got to and this point. ack in january, we had conference. we knew these gun laws were going to come to cut i talked to the chief of police from greenwood village. he met with the brady group and they worked with the chiefs association to come up with these gun laws. at our conference, we spent about three hours at a round table and said these are the loss they are going to present. we need to put an end to it and let's do a position paper from the shares will stop all 62 sheriffs agreed with that position paper. the number one item we said we were opposed is because it is a violation of our second amendment rights. because the tuition comes first and we took in -- the constitution comes first and we took an oath to protect it. [applause]
was let's statement put a hold -- let's not have any ruralerk reactions to a and new town. let's wait and talk about it. of course, that did not happen. the third of our sheriffs went to testify at the senate and we were ignored and they covered a couple of minutes. they had over 1000 people to testify against the bills. will rollout to testify that they do not care we had to say -- me and a few other sheriffs were allowed to testify but they did not care what we had to say. could've came down and testified but they did not care because they had an agenda. that is correct. they would not have known who he was. i like that. [laughter] do you want the microphone? myway -- now you maybe lose
thought. the 55 sheriff said no and we will sue the state because the legislature and governor signed in these bills. the 55 proud of all of sheriff because 55 put their names and reputations on the line and political features to defend the constitution and their constituents. a lot of people said why the sheriffs of a why are you doing it? who?sponse is if not us, we took an oath to uphold the constitution and that is what we are doing and we are representing the people who cannot in federal court. we are defending the single mom that might be attacked by several intruders and needs of more than 15 rounds or might be attacked by several intruders. disabledfending the shooters who may not been to reload quickly.
the rights of everyday citizens. this lawsuit is about two things. -- our oath we took. it does not make colorado a safer place. if they went into effect among the aurora shooting would've still have happened. i believe it is going to make colorado a less safer state to live because it takes away the rights of individuals to protect themselves. life was met is about priorities and resources. as sheriff, i sent the resources. and my priorities are putting the bad guys in jail and the burglars and rapists and child molesters and drug dealers in jail, not in the law-abiding citizens who these laws are aimed at. [applause] ask that you stand with
your sheriffs and support us in this endeavor. there is a fund started for this ouruit and you can go to website and contribute to the lawsuit because it is expensive. we have expert witnesses and their fees are going to cost a lot of money. you can support us by donating. also let your sheriffs know. i received over 2000 e-mails and letters. i wish i had them. of the 2000, roughly 1800 of saying, in support and thank you for standing up with us and protecting our rights. and a lot of them are from around the country because they know if it happens here, it can happen there. the other our letters and e- mails and cards telling me to go do something to myself that is
physically and humanly impossible to do. they are not very nice. that gune who believe control, some adults say they of somebody breaks into my house issues me and i die. i do not get to that part. please support your sheriffs. we are standing up to say, no. i would appreciate if you would back us. thank you, jon. [applause] >> absolutely. [applause] if there is anybody who deserves standing ovation, it is the sheriffs and john has done such an incredible job. for them to stand up and take the heat for this, there is no political gain afford them. they are not making money. they are doing that because they know it is right. all 62 elective shares in colorado are on deposition paper.
governorto contact the and try to call him, he would not meet with a single sheriff as these bills were being ran through. however thomas as our investigative reporter tom shepherd was able to find out on his website, while our governor was not listen to a single sheriff, he was is that the phone calls from michael bloomberg himself during key moments of the debate. for those who may not understand from out-of-state why this bothers us, here in colorado we believe in local control. we want to control what happens politically here in colorado. i understand gun culture to many is very bizarre. when i was an anti-gunnie, it was bizarre to me. were raised with guns.
there are more guns than people. this is part of the fabric of colorado. for some east coast elitists to tell us we cannot have them, that is where the independence institute comes in and says no. thank you for this support of this lawsuit. [applause] on saturday, lawyers where blazers and neckties. [laughter] the cowboy hat he has his on his best bread he had when he was a kid. dave has been doing such an amazing job, bringing together this legal suit on constitutional grounds and suing on several issues. i am very optimistic. i doubt you could give us a quick update and introduce our
great speaker cam. >> thank you. this lawsuit besides having 55 have 20s has plaintiffs additional plaintiffs who represent some of what the best of colorado has always been. youthnclude the colorado outdoors, an organization that encourages and helps young people participate in the outdoor sports including the shooting sports. the trade association for colorado hunting bodies who have been very seriously harmed by these poorly written bills. to disabled individuals at an amortization which is -- and an organization which is for disabled people participating in outdoor sports will stop -- sports. it involves constitutional
claims under the second amendment and 14th and it also includes claims under the american with disabilities act because the ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds is especially harmful to disabled people who may not have the mobility to be able to change mags magazine when they are under attack or only have one arm. or difficulty with their fingers for any number of reasons. as ourthey especially experts have explained, they especially need standard capacity, full capacity magazines for lawful self- defense. we have made tremendous progress . in june, we filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and the forth of all the back and was on july 10, we got everything we had been seeking with the limoneira
injunction. the magazine ban not only outlaws magazines that do hold more than 15, it also outlaws magazines that are designed to be readily converted to hold more than 15 rounds. nobody knows what that really means. the only thing it really could mean if it means anything at all is essentially every detachable magazine is banned. whether it is an eight round magazine for your colt pistol from the 1911 model for a 10 round magazine or 13 round, almost all of them today have a removable base point. you can disassemble it, clean it, replace a worn out spring. because they have a removable faceplate, they can have an extender added to it. this was to outlaw
all magazines holding what ever size. we solved the politically injunction and as we pushed, the attorney general representing the governor because that is how in colorado you sue against state, you need the governor to defend it will stop ultimately, conceded our point and on july 10 issued new technical guidelines that would replace the attorney general's guidance and said you have to interpret designed to be readily converted in to mean it does not apply to anything unless it has been converted. which is not really what the language said but we will take that temporary interpretation at least for the time being to protect people who have magazines of 15 or less. in addition, the magazine ban had a grandfather clause which said you can continue to own a normal magazine of 20-30 if you
actually owned it on july 1. that's something everybody can understand. you have to maintain continuous possession. what does that mean? ,t said continuance would be you can maybe when a friend comes over and you show him your magazine, he can hold the magazine for a few minutes and that is ok all stop anything other than that would terminate continuous possession and make it legal. what that even in colorado, gunsmiths do not do on the spot service. that is an important distinction between burger king is an gunsmiths. you leave the magazine for a couple of weeks or a few days with the gunsmith for repairs, and continuous possession will be broken and you and the
gunsmith would be criminals. by pushing for the poll and then marry -- the limoneira injunction, we ended up with an injunction that abandoned your you want to leave somebody, --with gun with somebody, that has been re-legalized. the sponsors of the magazine ban repeatedly said the only reason a person would own a magazine of more than 15 rounds is to murder a lots of people quickly. horrible libel against millions of law-abiding citizens , and colorado law enforcement.
said ineme court has the heller case that what you areot ban are those which typically possessed by law- abiding citizens for lawful purposes. toour case, we do not get in the theory of 100 round magazine. these things that are rarely on people except as a novelty item. what we say is unconstitutional is those magazines which are indisputably owned by law- abiding citizens for lawful purposes. for handguns, it is magazines up to 20. for raffles, it is magazines up to 30. that is enough to say that a ban on 15 is necessary -- is unconstitutional under the supreme court's precedent in heller.
observation, the people you know around, lots and lots of them own the standard capacity magazines. not because they want to kill a lot of people at once, because they on them for good purposes of lawful self-defense and recreational shooting. they are commonly possessed by sheriff's and deputies. , ory handguns, a glock smith & wesson the may have a 19 round magazine. and in patrol cars of almost every lawn forced organization, you'll find a rifle with several 20-30 round magazines. though share of cities are not curing those aren't because they aregoing hunting, or they going collectors, or because they want to kill a lot of people quickly. there curing them for one purpose only, which is the lawful protection of self and others.
the reason they choose those with those often magazines because they believe those are the best choice under their particular circumstance. what they can control the recoil on, what's -- what helps improve safety. they believe citizens have the right to choose those firearms. this is the opposite of the idea that law enforcement is a guard that a superior to the citizens, rather than believe of the sheriff says that they are elected by the people and given power to serve the people and not be there superiors who control them from above. these magazine bans directly directlyforesman -- harm law enforcement. everybody is a full-time
employee. let me tell you one and oh. anecdote if itne had been 20 years ago. county, an himself very rugged county, the sheriff knew he had to go out and do the high risk road stop. he brought along a trusted person he knew who he had trained to be a safe and proficient shooter in support of law enforcement for this. he was not a certified law enforcement officer. he was not swarm. he was just a good citizen helping out. the sheriff and citizen went out , and theraffic stop
sheriff was murdered. the citizen was caring his beretta handgun. he fired all 17 round magazines as the murderers attempted to escape. one of the rounds hit the tire of the escape vehicle and stopped it. the murderers ran off on foot into the foothills. over the next month, 200 law enforcement officers can to participate in the manhunt for those people. citizens, other ordinary citizens performing their role, coming to the aid of the sheriff voluntarily, bringing their own firearms. they participated in the manhunt , searching buildings and remote areas until one month later, the murderers were found in a remote
cabin where they had committed suicide. effectbill had been in 20 years ago, that citizen wouldn't have had a 17 round magazine. the murderers would have escaped. it is a deadly danger to law enforcement and to all of the public in colorado. [applause] this lawsuit is not one of these bumper stickers things. it is not something that contends that all gun controls are unconstitutional. regarding the background check bill that was passed by the legislature, which we are suing, we just take the position one way or the other.
what we say is certainly if that could be constitutional, you at least have to have a functioning system for that to happen. house bill 1229 is a dysfunctional order. they have to bring the guns. if a neighbor wants to sell a firearm to his neighbor, they both have to go to where they can find a federal firearms licensing will perform the transaction. that licensee is only about to charge $10 for filling up pages of paperwork, foreign -- for incurring serious liability, for his waiting hours or days that the instantcomplete background check. few if any firearms dealers are
going to be willing to do this. that means in practice, citizens who want to comply with the law will not be able to do so because there is no way to do so without going to the federal firearms retailer. even worse, and clearly unconstitutional, the bill not only applies to the actual sale of firearms, but it applies to the ordinary use of firearms, which includes loaning firearms to somebody else on a temporary basis. life,s the people in real how they actually use firearms. these bills were not written who have any respect for or knowledge of the way that real americans use real firearms. say you havens is, a cousin that is going to come elk hunting. he spent a night with you and
realizes there is a malfunction in his rifle. he cannot use it. it will take a while to get his rifle fix. you lend him your hunting rifle .nd he goes off for five days while under colorado law, the new background check bill, both of your criminals subject up to 18 months in jail, and you use your -- you lose your right to possess a firearm for a year. that is a rational or reasonable. let me give you another example of this. it is common in law enforcement for share of stubby these or police officers that to their dd handguns and the rifle they have is something that they buy with their own money from an approved list of suitable firearms
created by the chief law enforcement officer. it is also true that most law enforcement officers have armories where they supply firearms to deputies. if you're a sheriff, and you have a supply of a ar-15's, in a safe in your office, and you have a deputy that is promoted, you hand him the keys to the patrol car, and say here is your you take the car home and will have it to be ready to respond in case there is an emergency, and here is a are 15 rifle with 30 round magazines for you to keep. you may need a rifle for all kinds of situations that could develop. we expect you to keep the rifle in the car and when you're off- duty, we secure the rifle and you take it inside.
the magazine van does have a law-enforcement exemption. the author of this bill was written by rhonda fields. there is no law enforcement exemption in the background check bill. that means when the sheriff gives the a are 15 to the deputy, and says you're going to have this rifle for the next six months, according to the house bill, they are going to go down to the local gun store and ask for a background check on the deputy and the deputy can ask -- the gun store has to register that firearm in its own inventory books as if he were selling it out of its inventory. the bill has criminalized the ordinary operations of law enforcement.
that is not a bill that is a thoughtful, sensible, reasonable gun control law. it is just the opposite. it is an unreasonable bill that was jammed in the legislature in 41 days without the careful consideration the sheriffs had asked for. they said let's have some study committees over the summer and think about it. whatever we are going to do, let's do it right and do it thoughtfully. instead, just the opposite happened. now, law enforcement throughout the state has been criminalized by the recklessness of the language in these bills. what the sheriffs are standing for in this case is the genius of the american political system. we've divided power between the federal, state, and local levels . whenever one part of that system becomes oppressive, the people, the ultimate sovereigns, can appeal to the others.
here's is our sheriffs, locally elected, billing to our national constitutional rights guaranteed either second teams and 14 commitment to protect us from unreasoned oppression and acted at the state level. there believe as you have heard is that law enforcement and law and order are important. if you believe in that, we have to believe the first priority of everyone has to be a bang a supreme law. -- has to be operating -- has to be obeying the supreme law. they are standing up for public safety. we hope you will stand with them. thank you. [applause]
i would now my to introduce my friends. i have known cam since he was a concept. back after they mccain feingold censorship law passed congress with a number of people who voted for it saying they were voting for it in part because they wanted to suppress the political speech of the national rifle association, and the bill also included an exemption for media. wayne lapierre, the president of the civil rights organization, founded in 1871, spoke at annual meeting that year and said fine.
if those of the new rules, we are going to be the media. we are going to start our own radio station and program. nra news came into being. right at the inception of nra news, was cam edwards. the host of it, as he has been every day since then. i think one of his contributions besides being knowledgeable and providing people with 3-4 hours of information every day, is the constructive and positive attitude he brings to it. there is some people in the gun issue whose main emotional energy is negativity. and hostility. wanting to be angry and upset all the time. you can be concerned. you can be angry about things. but you can still do it in a way positive and makes the
world a nicer and happier place. thank you for making us better. [applause] >> i will forgo the men of screaming i was going to start the speech off with. stufft have quite as much in my hands as christopher hitchens. i'm going to borrow my notes. i have to say, it is great to be an adult. >> i would know. [laughter] what in this awesome -- what ms. b often it -- when this be awesome if we could have a weeklong atf event. i have to say, thank you to everybody for inviting me out to
breed this was a heck of a lot of fun. i need to hit the range more often. i spend more time in the studio than i do on the range. it is a privilege for me to be out here. we have been covering what is going on in colorado. personble to talk in instead of on the phone, to talk to dave in person and to see the sheriffs and say thank you for doing what you're doing. if we can take a second, can you give yourselves a round of applause. you're not getting thanked enough. [applause] thank you for what you are doing, will continue to do here in colorado. this thing is a flashpoint. this state, on the beginning of the year, was on a list. there were a lot of obvious laces.
connecticut, new jersey, california. all of the new york state. these are expected places. nobody sees maryland as a pro- gun state anymore. colorado was supposed to be this prize. politicians who embrace these gun control proposals were told not to people in colorado but let people in washington dc, you guys are going to be heroes. they're going to have parades for you guys. that didn't really happen. more like a recall than a parade. dave and john, and the sheriffs have done a very good job of going over the recent history. i want to offer a couple of highlights if i can. some of the things that we
covered during this debate. we had joe biden: low makers -- we had joe biden call in lawmakers. take his call, but don't take the call from your constituents. what the hell? reelection?un for joe was important. we have elected officials offering advice on how to avoid sexual assault. whistles. we had an incredible display of empathy on the part of a state senator when she was talking to amanda collins. do you know amanda story? amanda collins was a college student at the university of nevada. she was 22 years old.
the college denied her and every other concealed carry. one night, amanda collins was walking to her car, doing everything they told her to do. 40 feet from the campus police department. she could see the campus police her as a stranger grabbed and pulled to the ground, and held a gun to her head, essentially assaulted her. after that happened, amanda collins was told she could carry her concealed firearm on campus as long as she didn't tell anybody. the second that other women , and thinkabout this this guy still out, amanda would lose her right to carry. she is an incredibly brave woman. i've had the opportunity to meet her on a couple of occasions. to hear a politician say, statistics say that gun wouldn't
have helped you at all, but here is a pat on the head. we will see you back in nevada. this type of disrespect, this type of -- i don't even know the world for it. it is arrogance. it is not directed at amanda collins. it is directed at everyone of you. you are gun owners. you understand that you want ,our firearm for your rights your right of self-defense, a right to joy -- to enjoy a great day at the range. fore are legitimate reasons these exercises of these rights. the opponents don't see it. say, i wonder if in colorado there is a gathering of violence terminals -- violent
criminals were wondering how to comply with these new laws? [laughter] this could dramatically impact us. can't have 16 round magazines anymore? they criminals -- they don't care. they have shrugged off our laws. they have rejected society. they operate outside the boundaries of society. we are the law-abiding. we are the ones they are targeting. there are 5 million nra members in this country. think of all the ink that has been spilled over the last few months about the mr ray -- the nra, and its members. there are one point formally and gang members in this country. 700,000 population
individual americans are responsible for the preponderance of violent crime. why are we talking about them? why the gun control advocates talking about them? it doesn't really suit the purposes. back in december, there were these three consulting firms that came out with a message guide for anti-gun activists. they came out on the internet a few weeks ago and got release. it is called preventing gun violence through effective messaging. your venting gun violence with a good guy with the gun. 80 pages long. that tellssection the anti-gun people how to respond when there is a tragedy like the shooting and aurora. or a shooting in sandy hook.
fornt to share these tips you, if i can. first, they say, don't hesitate to speak out right away. ,xpress concern for the victims but use language where our message flows from the expression of concern into the larger argument. means, when people are grieving, when families are in shock and in horror, think about how you can segue from this is awful to we need more gun control laws. they say, don't assume the facts, and don't wait for them. camera.d the nearest one way to link the argument is
to ask questions. once the .2 approaches and .olicies we favor it is about what we feel. never apologize. they offer specific examples. this was their example. i know this is a time for mourning, but don't say that. challenge the nra silence. hopped right on out. don't wait for the facts to be known. , and humanit decency. of course, they say, as someone is silence, attack them for
that. out, the night of sandy hook, i did a show. for three hours. i have to say, i'm pretty proud. i broke every one of these roles. rules.e we didn't talk policy that night. wasll knew the gun debate coming. it could wait. we didn't badmouth anybody that night. i explained how i learned about sandy hook. i had just come from an elementary school. kids a giving our two tour. about what i felt.
then we just opened up the show to messages of support and sympathy from all around the country. i wouldn't change a thing that we did that night. you do not have to be quiet right away. you can show respect for your fellow americans, for those who are grieving. you can so that grieving. at least, i think that they can. i thought that they could. maybe. we sure didn't see that. we really haven't seen that. it has been this way longer than we think. i will give you another example. there is not a blessing the back wear the black hat."
he was on twitter when the news in tucson broke. he was trying to figure out that cognitive dissonance. he was trying to figure out, he realized there had been a shooting. there were people who were really excited about what this means for cerro palin. they are very happy this means bad things for sarah palin. why were these people are tending to be sad about something that was clearly making them euphoric? it was the map. these freaks thought that somehow she was responsible. while there were families grieving, trying to figure out what was going on, he were these people who were so excited that a politician they hated was going down. politics and policies met more than their common humanity.
this is not healthy. that is not the actions of a healthy mind. it is not healthy to think of the pain and suffering of others in terms of how this can benefit your agenda. i do not think we do that on our side. if you see that, collect out. please. if you see that, call it out. please. it should not be about who cares more. we all care. all of us, as americans, care about violent crime in our communities. except for the people who are committing violent crimes. it is about what works. if gun control worked, chicago would be mayberry.
weld county would be thunder dome. it would be horrible. that is not real life. life is gun control not working in chicago. gun control failing in camden, new jersey, and in oakland, california, and a lot of other communities around this country. when i was living -- when i met my wife, she was living in camden. i was young. anas making four dollars hour. she was not making a lot of money. we were trying to figure out what we're going to do. instant family. was i going to move to philadelphia? i thought, maybe i should move to philly.
this was an easy decision. they were moving to oklahoma. , all things considered, we were still poor, dirt poor. we were going to live in a crappy neighborhood. why would someone move from camden with the good gun laws that would keep us safe to the wild west of oklahoma? oklahoma was safer than camden new jersey -- camden, new jersey. they not -- they do not do a dam thing to stop the bad guys. how many law-abiding people can exercise the right to own a pistol? you are talking about hundreds of dollars in extra fees just to exercise a constitutional right because they say that it makes the cities safer. of course, bloomberg goes and blames crime on the state of
virginia anyway. i can't win. i keep moving from place to place. i keep moving to places that have lower crime rates in new york city. it is weird how that works. how do we push back? it is not just about gun control. the soda bans. it is about salt intake. it is about making sure that you do not get diabetes. it is about e six. it is about ipods. it is about control. it is not about gun control. it may be about fun control. mostly it is about control. state --e the nanny now they have other terms. coercive paternalism is fancy.
it is the same thing. they want to restrict your liberty. they want to tell you these choices that you used to be able to make our now off-limits to you. thiseasoning behind all of seems so suspect to me. when it comes to gun control, because we need to go after your rights and that will trickle down to criminals. when it comes to bloomberg's soda ban, the number one way to fight diabetes is to tell people you can't have a 20 ounce soda in a restaurant or theater. i didn't know. it is weird. in new york, a 20 ounce coca- cola is a problem. if you pour a couple of ounces
of a call, you are good to go. it is legal. this is new york legal. here is to you, mike. [laughter] [laughter] ultimately, we are pushing back against these attitudes. we are pushing back with lawsuits. we are pushing back with phone calls to legislatures. we are pushing back by electing officials in support who do listen to us. back by being grown-ups, and by being ok at it. i having hundreds of people show up to arrange and shoot thousands of shotgun cells -- shotgun shells, and everybody is ok. now we are enjoying cigars and
drinks, and we all get home safely tonight. we can control our lives. we can manage our lives. it is not too difficult. we are not perfect. eat too much dessert. you may not be able to take that bad habit, smoking cigarettes. we are more capable than our government gives us capable -- gives us credit for. [applause] well, we are more capable than our government. i have to say, if that is the attitude, we have to put our money where our mouth is. >> how many candidates are in your? >> how many candidates are here? thank you guys.
[applause] i will say, i debated long and hard about running for mayor of my tiny town. i decided i would fail. i've only lived there for seven months. i wouldn't vote for a guy who has lived there for seven months. four years from now, i'm going to run for mayor. maybe we will reform from within. it is in virginia. i don't want to say right now. thank you. that is all right. four years -- why would i give consultants time to give -- time create the battle space? in the meantime, we can keep doing things like this. we can take people to the range.
them, all of these horrifying stories you have , you can dofirearms this. i will show you. it is safe. you can do this. in a lot of other ways, we are pushing back. in new york city, we are pushing back with food trucks around the country read we are pushing back because we want to be capable. we know that we are capable and competent. they hate it when we are competent. we are making our own bacon and bourbon. we are making our own beer. bullets.king our own what other be words can i think of? bustiers, maybe. i'm not coming understand. somebody probably is. ourselves, and we
are learning that we can do these things, that we didn't think we could do before. we are bowhunting in the suburbs. i have a friend who is learning to borrow hunt -- learning to bow hut. people who are keeping chickens in york city. i'm kind of weirded out by that honestly. chickens,se i have and i know how much they like to wander. he thought of diapering them weirds me out. whatever. it is ok. you don't, what it -- you don't tell me what to do with my guns, i want tell you what to do with my chickens. i am a live and let die like that. we're pushing ourselves to push back at these nighters. we need to. the role of government as either bumpkin, isd i'm a to help us to create a more perfect union.
to help ensure our primary) our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. when we pursue happiness, we are going after. it is out there. we are going after it. is no guarantee we are going to get it. it is our right to pursue it. of we have with this army nudgers, knocking us off our path in our goal. you want to be a gun owner, we are not going to let you own a magazine over 15 rounds preview want to be a memorial dad, we're going to start telling you your
kids aren't yours. they belong to all of us. they never, get my kids when they are freaking out and throwing a temper tantrum. you, in this room, are an inspiration to all of us. each and every one of you are pursuing your own individual happiness. yet, together, you have -- this is a loaded term. you have stood your ground, and you have stopped. he put out your hands, and you have said, no. still, the closer. -- don't come any closer. i have got this. we need to take time and do this. this is happening all around the country. how are we doing on time? are we good?
there is one other component want to talk about. we talked about competence. they want us to be man babies, incapable of helping ourselves. they want to diaper us like we diaper chickens. .e have confidence we have self-control. here,nds of shells shot lots of drinks being consumed, everyone is behaving themselves. so far. it --ontrol is the entity self-control is the antidote. a few months after i moved to , haverm, my wife and i
you ever seen "american pickers?" there was this great woman with buildings full of stuff. big stuff. i walk away with this. this little book i found. it is fascinating. this was published by the national education association in 1951. things have changed quite a bit. things. this piece, it was written in 1916, the code of the good american. this was a book that was designed for high school students. the code of the good american. citizens were good americans -- this entire piece will make the nanny state grange -- they try
,o become strong and useful worthy of their nation. how many people think this nation is unworthy of us? be, our country may greater, therefore they obey the rights of the best americans. the number one law, the law self-control. that is it. the good american controls himself. i will control my tongue, and not allow it to speak mean, boulder, or profane words. [laughter] , will think before i speak unlike the anti-gun messaging guy. i will control my temper. i will not get angry when people
displease me. i will not -- i will control my actions. i will insist on doing right. we used to teach this. we used to teach this in our schools, to our kids. now, we don't. we have to learn self-control. that is the thing. the more you do it, the better you get. if our kids are learning in schools, we have to make sure we are teaching them. not think you have self-control, you can always try. ago, i amabout a year fat. i have a lot of fat. no, i look fat. exercising self- control. i said maybe i don't need those cookies.
it was the weirdest thing. i started losing weight. it was crazy. i did need to do up a leo died. i just needed to exercise and watch how much stuff i was shoving in my mouth. the thing is, they want to make it seem like self-control is hard. that is what we need them. we can't do it on our own. even if we can't do it on our own, it doesn't give mayor bloomberg the right. we have each other. we have organizations that can help us with our competence, with their self-control, we have the in our right. we have the independence institute. we have the child -- we have the chive. it features beautiful woman" things. community, they have
started helping others. there is a family who needs your help. there is a little kid who has medical bills. what can you do? $60,000, $80,000 raised from the country. not because the government has told them to. not because a measure -- a nudger has told them this. because it is fun. it is fun to be a responsible adult. it is good to be responsible adult. again, i think all of us as individuals pursuing our own individual happiness, coming together in groups like this, to have each other's back, this is how we win. please keep fighting. keep pushing. don't be nudged.
thank you. [applause] let me ask david, peer -- >> let me ask david, peer. we have time for a few questions. that is sexy. chicks dig it. in the meantime, we have a microphone over here. if anyone has a question, stand up and we will -- let's start over here. these new combinations of the bill. what will stop him from rescinding these things that clarify that bill? >> nothing. that is why we argue that these issues we talked about our temporarily taking care of.
they are not resolved. we need the federal district court to issue a permanent injunction against the language. >> next question? in the back. didn'tnt to make sure i break any laws today. i borrowed a shotgun. that.u explain on [laughter] >> don't get my name out. >> i borrowed two shotguns. >> the requirement for background checks on temporary transfers of magazines does have sensible exemptions and it. one is transfers at a shooting range. >> i will meet at the parking lot. right here. please stand up.
>> under the new law, what is weapons?s of belt fed >> machine guns. they are still highly regulated and legal as one implies with strict federal licensing requirements. >> next question. >> do think there is going to be stricter scrutiny for these laws? >> it does call for legal conclusions. [laughter] that is one of the issues will be briefing on. what the standard of review is. whether it is an intermediate
argueny, versus what we applies in the magazine issue, a categorical rob bishop. if the government outlawed a religion, we wouldn't resolve that under strict screening. we argue that bans uncommonly possessed arms used by law- abiding citizens, the probation is categorically outlawed by the second amendment. >> if you mean enforcement by scrutiny, most counties, no. there will be no enforcement on these laws. [applause] >> let's not mistake it as a success.
that is just how they do it in wells county. >> when are you going to visit? i will have my deputies waiting for you. since i made that statement, when obama came out with the edicts, i was not going to help the federal government and force them, and then when the state passed the loss, i put out a policy procedure so that if any deputy charged summit with that, they would be disciplined and terminated. .e also did a training we did training for everybody in the agency to say why these laws are unenforceable. so every deputy knows they are not to enforce it. i have to admit, every single one of my deputies that have had the guts to talk to about it have agreed with me. i cannot guarantee in denver what the enforcement will be. >> this is a big question.
in the history of man, governments of dilma people than anybody else. we are talking small ball here. the big discussion is governments have killed more people than anybody else. >> that sounds like a talk radio kind of question. >> why are we talking small ball? educate the population. when government goes back, they have to kill you. [laughter] >> let me ponder this. >> the nice thing about mayor bloomberg, to his credit, is there no indication he has any plans to perpetrate genocide. in we're working on here this case is saving lives of
individuals in colorado through them being able to protect themselves and those who come to the aid of law enforcement, having the appropriate resources, and the number of people who live in colorado is smaller than the number killed and many genocides. we believe we want to save lives one at a time, and the way to do that is to get rid of these dangerous laws. >> i will take one shot at that. the second amendment is not about duck hunting. when the sheriff talks about he is empowered because of the people through a set of codes that gives them the authority to rule a law, this is what changes our society from fiefdoms. i began to worry. it is worthwhile remembering how we became this nation.
citizens owned firearms. they were called upon, they use them. when i hear about duck hunting and self-defense, i wonder about the full second amendment. let's go to the back. s> i understand the sheriff' have a constitutional power that other law enforcement doesn't have. what is the center that? >> we are a constitutional office. our authority derives from the state of colorado from the state constitution. police departments don't. they are appointed by the mayor or city council. our authority comes from the constitution of the state of colorado. >> if you're not going to enforce state laws, what practical problems might that
create for your department who go down that path? i'm asking is a citizen. we can be collateral damage that is between the sheriff who is not going to enforce a set of laws, and the state that wants them enforce. >> there is no lawn the state of colorado that says i have to laws of the sid colorado. i can compare it to driving 1-2 miles over the steed -- i can compare it to driving over this be limited. we do not enforce it. i can't think of any police department and forces it. ands a matter of priority resources. i'm not going to spend resources on doing them.
>> most read cops -- most street cops are on our side. the chiefs are under the thumb of the mayor. you are absolutely right. most read cops and most of the jeeps -- do not supports this legislation. they are dominated by metro area chiefs. is opposed torner these laws, and most chiefs throughout the state. there was a debate in downtown denver, the cell debate. the mayor was a moderator. he was supposed to be impartial. they had three pro-gun control people. before the debate came up, to street cops came up to me and
said thanks for writing that position paper. we agree with you 100%. keep up the fight. but don't tell anybody. our chief is here. we do not want him to know. i've had chiefs of police conduct me and say, thank you for what you are doing. we appreciate. -- we appreciate. there was a police trade magazine that surveyed 15,000 police nationwide. most were street cops. them said that the magazine ban is ineffective, and would have negative damage on our society. put --med society would would stop most of these mass murders. they would limit the number of casualties. level b --
[applause] >> just a comment. , you are theiff law. ,f a federal agent comes in they have to go through you. the feds to 70 legally. what -- >> c-span as recording. >> the sheriff is the chief law enforcement of the county. federal agents are allowed to enforce federal jurisdiction or federal laws. we have a good working relationship. they call us. i cannot think of a time when a federal agency hasn't come in without talking to me first. >> i know our sheriff can call upon citizens to come support him.
we will go. we will support the sheriff. >> every sheriff and the state of colorado does this. >> i want to thank our guests. thank you. thank you. [applause] tonight a look at the situation from syria. talks samantha power about the chemical weapons in the country. followed by a you and reefing. briefing.d by a u.n. then travel warnings issued for lebanon and turkey. today we heard from samantha power who spoke in support of the u.s. military action in syria to present -- prevent assad from using chemical weapons. for him the center for